FRINGE REVIEW – Three Men In A Boat – Rodney Bewes (Universal Arts)


9 – 29 August (not 16 or 23)
1700-1810, Universal Arts

There are few tales so quintessentially English as Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men In a Boat.

Rodney Bewes pays homage to that fact by choosing to play his one-handed adaptation in the style of another very English tradition: that of the music hall.

This works well, thanks mostly to Bewes’ impeccable comic timing and a delivery that is drier than beef without mustard. With plenty of asides to the audience and some ad-libbing, he charms his way through Jerome’s original, recounting the riverbound adventures of himself and his two friends George and Harris as they set out on a rejuvenating trip along the Thames.

The set is simple yet effective: one half recreating the study from which Bewes narrates the tale; the other holding a cutout representation of the boat itself. And not to mention Montmorency the dog, played in this production by a stuffed toy on wheels.

Bewes plays to an appreciative audience, most of whom obviously remember him from his television days. All the laughs are in the right places for the right reasons, as we share the men’s escapades and mishaps.

Gently amusing and entertaining, Three Men And A Boat is a relaxing way to drift along for seventy minutes, steered by Bewes’ charming and enjoyable performance.

Ticket information is available on the Universal Arts website.

Review by Keith D

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