It was a joy to welcome back the Original Theatre Company with their production of Three Men in a Boat and especially to entertain the cast and company to a first night reception in the Theatre’s bar.

The cast (l-r) Michael Rouse, Tom Hackney, Anna Westlake and David Partridge

The cast (l-r) Michael Rouse, Tom Hackney, Anna Westlake and David Partridge

This semi-autobiographical comedy was written by Jerome K. Jerome on his return from honeymoon spent on a small boat on the River Thames in 1888  – although his wife was replaced in the story by his long time friends George Wingrave (George) and Carl Hentschel (Harris).  The book was published a year later and it is said that its popularity was such that the number of registered boats on the Thames went up fifty percent in the year following its publication, and it contributed significantly to the river becoming a tourist attraction.

This Original Theatre Company’s quirky take on this classic comedy will do nothing to detract from that legacy.  The slapstick antics of the three protagonists (David Partridge, Michael Rouse and Tom Hackney) were brilliantly funny and had the audience fully engaged and tittering as they cavorted around the stage with the action racing along at a frenetic pace.  Clearly it was great fun to act with amazing chemistry between the three actors – a fact confirmed when chatting with them after the show.  Mention must also be made of Anna Westlake as Nelly, ever present on stage, saying nothing, but who tied the whole performance together perfectly with music and sound effects.