Three Inch Fools – Romeo and Juliet reviewed by Martin Allen
Five Stars *****
‘For never before have I loved a show
More than this, of Juliet and her Romeo’
Hastings Pier, modern, quirky and newly transformed may lie a mile west of the real cultural hub of Hastings Old Town, but last night, in glorious setting summer sunshine, it was at the epicentre of the ultimate British theatrical experience – William Shakespeare.
The Three Inch Fools, a deliciously talented five piece troupe of three handsome young gents and two exquisite young ladies, were in town to perform their version of Romeo and Juliet.
Where to start? Well, firstly I disagree most wholeheartedly with the seagull that made his feelings known, leaving his 1-star review on the decking, inches from the actors mid-show. A most disrespectful act if ever I saw one. But a knowing glance to the audience, a gasp of “that was close” and some stifled corpsing was all that was needed to dismiss this dissatisfied interloper.
The stage was the upper deck of the pier; the backstage a plain wooden frame and sheet, and hooks to hold the costumes and instruments, all over-lit with a string of soft white fairy lights. It was simple, non-detracting and helped foster that desired intimate setting where you as the audience felt up close and personal, almost part of the story itself.
The 2-hour performance was engrossing, stripped back to basic costuming and props, but with a youthful vibrancy that was engaging and infectious. It was also a seamless connection of a traditionally acted story in front of and amongst the audience and a lively relevant style. Whilst traditional of its time for role reversal, the Three Inch Fools each threw themselves effortlessly into both male and female roles, and of all social classes.
But more than that, they take the rather en vogue style of quick costume and character changes, add in plenty of humour, sing a few beautifully harmonious songs, and play all manner of modern and traditional instruments, including a rather quaint green frog-rasp. The result is a truly innovative performance that sparks and sobers us in all the right places. The comedy was hilariously cheap and camp, the tragic pathos touching and emotional. Diction was crisp and delivery from all was beautifully rhythmic.
These guys really are super-talented and so engaging. I was in awe and envious of them at the same time. Their raw, no-frills style was right up my street. I’d love to catch them again some time and I hope they come back to Hastings next year with maybe Macbeth or A Comedy of Errors (if they haven’t done these already) which I think would really suit them.
Please look them up and if you can, go and see them on their summer tour. You can find out more at www.threeinchfools.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.