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Tryst review at the Vaults, London – ‘a static three-hander’

Clodagh Mooney Duggan and Finbarr Doyle in Tryst at Vault Festival, London
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Another week, another influx of Irish productions at Vault Festival. Jeda de Bri and Finbarr Doyle’s new play Tryst is a three-hander, focussing on three 20-something uni friends and the fall-out from their binge-drinking and bad decisions.

It consists of one long scene. Matt and Steph are engaged. Rachel is their best friend and bridesmaid – and, it is revealed fairly early on, set to be the mother of Matt’s child, after a drunken threesome between them all.

It’s an original scenario that brings to bear a compelling set of risks, resentments and responsibilities, which de Bri and Doyle explore thoroughly. As touchy topics like consent and abortion start to get weaponised over the course of the play, the power dynamic shifts – sometimes it’s Matt and Steph vs Rachel, sometimes Matt and Rachel vs Steph, sometimes Rachel and Steph vs Matt.

That said, it’s also true that Tryst never really becomes anything other than an hour-long argument between friends. It’s fairly formulaic, with one person leaving the room for no particularly good reason just so the other two can row, and entirely one-note – 60 minutes of people getting pissed off with each other, with a few revelations thrown in to break up the monotony.

De Bri’s production – he directs as well – also labours. It’s static, and struggles to work with the writing’s restrictive flatness, as do all three performers.

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A monotonous three-hander exploring the fallout from a threesome between a group of friends