Timothy at the Vaults – Susy Brett Reviewed for us

The new black comedy from the pens of Offie-nominated playwright David K. Barnes and Michael Milne, Timothy, is at the VAULTs Festival this week.

Timothy is a short play about a woman, Annette, who believes her husband, Timothy, is trying to kill her. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Annette manages to rope in her two very persuadable friends, Yvonne and Susan, to kill Timothy first. They succeed, but everything is not as it seems.

There are a lot of great things about Timothy. The setting of the Studio at the Vaults to portray Annette’s cellar and the scene of a conspiracy to kill Timothy is particularly fitting. The concept is definitely interesting, with a lot of potential for comedy. The script has a lot of fun, clever moments and quick-fire dialogue. And, as always, the use of three distinct female characters at the forefront of the show is very welcome.

The comedy works well, with the use of a single drop from a leaking tap in the cellar used several times for excellent comedic impact. Amani Zardoe as Yvonne and Beth Eyre as Susan bounce off one another brilliantly, jumping to conclusions at the drop of a hat. Henry Wyrley-Birch is also very convincing as the charming and ambiguous husband, Timothy, who knows very well how to use a dramatic pause for comedy effect.

The problem I had with Timothy from the beginning was the apparent lack of motivation guiding the character of Annette. Hannah Sinclair Robinson does a wonderful job with what she has, but the fact Timothy has “murderer eyes” doesn’t exactly compel me to take her seriously.  The play aims to keep its audience on its toes, trying to zig when one expects it to zag, but this questionable justification for murder puts the audience constantly on guard for twists – meaning the final, macabre twist to the story is spottable a mile off.

While the cast were excellent, I wonder if this script might fare better with an older cast. Some of the lines felt more like little old ladies gossiping (and totally out of their depths in the field of murder) than the suave twenty-somethings we watched on stage.

Despite the issues with character motivations, Timothy is a tense, at times funny, at times dark, addition to the Fringe comedy slate that will keep one thoroughly entertained throughout its 45-minute runtime.

Timothy is playing at the Vaults Festival until today Sunday, March 18.

Thanks also to Susy Brett who attended for us and guest posted. Find her normal twitter adventures at @susybumblebee