Filling up from the front as instructed, I sat and studied the PHQ-9 questionnaire left on my seat. If you know, you know. “Yep, done one of these before'', two women said at the same time in the row behind me. They laughed, one of them followed with “This is going to be reeelatable!”. And it really, really was.
Dangerosity’s two-person production introduces us to ‘Woman’ (Christie Peto) and her aptly named inner voice ‘Patch’ (Hannah Harquart). Set post workplace incident, the show explores mental health, therapy, and self-support. Peto and Harquart’s on stage relationship is a pleasure to behold. Natural patter punctuated by silly impressions and knowing, heartfelt back and forths are executed with excellent comedy timing. A Northern French and Saunders.
Harquart’s personification of Woman’s psyche is a festival bunting strewn, travel bag toting best mate. An embodiment of the monkey mind, Harquart’s clowning, comic physicality and almost irritating high energy provide the light to Peto’s shade. A shade which can unexpectedly crash in mid-banter. Peto’s ability to jump from cheerful positivity to quiet desperation is impressive, not to mention moving. Several moments of teary-eyed monologue had me holding them back myself.
Peto’s writing is wonderful, leaving just enough to audience interpretation. With powerful, well-placed words Peto is able to create a compelling piece of comedy drama from a modest plot line, mirroring our protagonist's plight. After all, making something out of nothing is anxiety’s bread and butter. As a devil for the awkward I thoroughly enjoyed moments of slightly tense audience interaction. Occasional questions thrown outward followed by committed silence cleverly mimicking reality for those who require clarity – oh god, does she want me to answer?
Sophie McMahon’s direction is considerate of the smaller audience in its simplicity. With most movement handled by Patch, there is more of a focus on both actors' delivery, which hits a slick yet not over-rehearsed sweet spot. Triggering amplified ringtones and dives into an eclectic bag of tricks add texture to basic staging. Presuming Ed’s epitomises the Brighton coffee shop pub crossover scene. Quality pints, community vibes, walls haphazardly adorned; you couldn’t be anywhere else. The down to earth venue upstairs is a cracking place for proper Fringe theatre, with limited seating providing an appropriate intimacy for this two-hander.
For anyone who has suffered the affliction of loneliness induced anxious self-debate, ‘Three’ is a much needed embrace. It reminds us, through self-deprecating humour and carefully chosen set pieces, that mental health stories can be very funny. Where we might consider codependency a relationship issue, it reminds us that this reliance can exist within; between our former selves and new challenges. We can be our own downfall and our own salvation. And we don’t have to take it all with us.