There is a distinct lack of sound in this cellar – with the exception of a dripping tap, placed to accent pregnant points, Timothy revels in the atmosphere of silence.

Because it’s the unashamed pauses in David K. Barnes and Michael Milne’s writing that add to the comedic delivery of each actor on stage. Rafaella Marcus utilises this intentional void to eke out every last laugh inherent in such snappy writing and unnerving delivery.

Timothy is a nervy production, one that makes the most of the uncertainties and assumptions flying around with reckless abandon. It’s based on a premise that seems absurd, presented without any shred of evidence. Annette (Hannah Sinclair Robinson) invites friends Yvonne (Amani Zardoe) and Susan (Beth Eyre) to her house with a problem – she is convinced that husband Timothy (Henry Wyrley-Birch) is trying to kill her. A ludicrous statement, and yet one that after some fast, furious and somewhat warped logical reasoning begins to make a sordid kind of sense. Timothy’s script has detailed observation and enough grounding for us to slowly question whether, in fact, Annette is actually in the right.

A deceptively simple script, Timothy is a challenging exercise in split second timing and as such requires a trio of well honed actors. Marcus finds this in the three women – each distinct in their personalities and strongest when given opportunity to bounce off each other. The overt confidence of Zardoe is well complemented by the nervous positivity of Eyre, both of which contrast to Sinclair Robinson’s outrageous truth. Mountains are beautifully constructed from molehills with inflection and inference.

In many ways, the issue with Timothy is in its very consistency; while performed to a high standard, it lacks variety in its pacing and its final destination is unsurprising. The ending can go one of a few ways and the extent to which the audience are left guessing is a clever device. However, none of these journeys are shocking or out of left field, which in turn detracts from the pretence of the situation. Snappy pacing is left behind, and superficial farce starts to take over.

Barnes and Milne are clearly supporters of strong comic acting – Timothy pays its four performers the respect they deserve, with a script that allows them to highlight their skill and split-second timing. Its strength is in staying true to the witty repartee – physical comedic moments are unnecessary and distracting in this acerbic production.

 

 

★★★☆☆

Timothy runs as part of the VAULT Festival until 18 March 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.