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© 2018 Jonathon Holmes | www.jonathonholmes.com.au

REVIEWS

Jonathon Holmes’ musical farce Three in the Bed had its world premiere season at Newtown’s King Street Theatre in September. It struck a chord with audiences and the limited run was a sell-out success. Now, with the backing of Birdie Productions, Three in the Bed has returned to the stage in Sydney, playing Newtown’s New Theatre for another limited season.

...under Holmes’ direction, it’s a highly entertaining piece that serves audiences a healthy dose of laughs and hummable music. The variety of musical genres to which the score shows deference on its own contributes to the musical’s dynamism. From the title track (arguably the most irreverent gospel song you’ve ever heard) to piano ballad ‘More than Fine’... to the terrifically tongue-in-check R&B number ‘Get Outta Your Head’ (complete with rap verses), the score is one of the show’s best assets. There’s even an Avenue Q feel that creeps in occasionally, particularly so in finale ‘Happiness’ (which takes a dig at the concept of happiness). Holmes has succeeded in composing a score that traverses several styles of music without compromising overall cohesion. It’s well delivered live by a three-piece band, led by musical director Natalya Aynsley.

As Tim, Robuck convinces... He’s vocally strong and there’s evident development of the character since the show’s previous outing (Tim is perhaps a little quirkier this time around). As his girlfriend, Emma, new cast member Oayda has good chemistry... her high point comes towards the end of the piece... with ‘Kinky’. It’s a number that attracts one of the strongest audience responses.

Returning as Zoe, Quinn is just as appealing the second time around and her distinctive vocals serve her well... Adin Milostnik... makes his mark. Milostnik is especially strong leading the performance of the gospel opener as a somewhat debauched preacher.

As lovelorn Jessica, Mirels is excellent... She brings us along, which is why ‘Flattered’... is such a successful moment. That number is also a standout because Mirels’ impressive, emotionally-charged vocals here are some of the best of the night.

Holmes’ direction ensures the show moves at the right pace... and the five players work seamlessly together. The choice to have Tim and Emma talk (or sing) about reconciliation while Emma unknowingly cleans ‘the scene of the crime’ is hugely amusing. There’s also been a choice made to stage one key scene using silhouettes... There are also good moments of choreography...

Three in the Bed is a laugh-out-loud show... If you’re looking for something light, something raunchy, something funny, and something slightly obscene, with a bunch of good melodies thrown into the mix, head to the New Theatre over the coming week. This is a musical that ticks each of those boxes and reminds us all of an inescapable truth – that people are strange creatures.

Theatre People

Tim Garratt

Fans of Group Sex rejoice! The genre that is musical theatre has now added your thing to its thing – and a very welcome thing your thing is. Just when I thought musicals were going to disappear into pretentious self-drear, along comes a show that wakes us up and reminds us that there will always be a need for Rocky Horror.

...It’s a fun show, though it depends on your idea of “fun”. If you enjoy films like 40-Year-Old Virgin and Sausage Party then this is the show for you. The show proudly goes out of its way to shock: The f-bombs are nothing compared to the dropping of slang terms for sexual practices that many would find unusual or unnatural. I’m not sure what was more worrying: that such terms were used or that the audience understood them.

But under the ribald surface is heart and intelligence, and all the songs are full of sharp wit and pathos. A lot of this show’s appeal lies in Jonathon Holmes’s script and songs. He wears his composer influences on his sleeve but in a good way – it’s still his own material and it sounds fresh. Example: one of the songs recalls ‘Your Fault’ from Into the Woods but it doesn’t sound like a lesser talent doing a hack job on Sondheim. Holmes also has a knack of knowing when to bring back motifs and melodies heard earlier for maximum impact. It’ s all helped by the tight and soulful playing of MD Natalya Aynsley’s three-piece band, hidden backstage.

The other factor making this show work is the great cast. Aaron Robuck, Alicia Rose Quinn, Daniella Mirels, Adin Milostnik and Laura Murphy are all equally brilliant, in voice, timing, and acting. It’s possible with a show like this to easily hate or not care for the characters, but the way these actors play them makes the characters endearing and brings out the fifty shades of grey (sorry, couldn’t resist) found in the script.

...Witty naughty fun.

Stage Whispers

Peter Novakovich

...the show is silly and frequently filthy – and it’s very entertaining. Holmes has composed an appealing contemporary score that includes a number of genuinely hummable and memorable melodies, which is never an easy task. ...the score is cohesive but still varied in its sound, at moments a little bit Jason Robert Brown and, in one number, even a little Avenue Q. It’s well performed by a small but tight band led by musical director Natalya Aynsley.

Alongside Holmes’ catchy score and a funny book, the talented cast plays an integral role in ensuring Three in the bed is a success. ...Robuck proves the right fit for the part. He believably portrays Tim’s awkwardness and his greenness and, vocally, he’s up to the task. Mirels is similarly strong as Jessica...  With respect to her singing, she has a solo moment to shine late in the piece and makes the very most of that opportunity. Quinn is also well cast as Zoe... Her Zoe is certainly likeable... And Milostnik has some good laugh-out-loud moments as Zoe’s blockhead boyfriend, Ben. But the standout of this great cast is Laura Murphy, who doesn’t miss a beat from start to finish... Her comedic timing is outstanding, her vocals pristine, her energy remarkable, and her stage presence totally commanding.

...the laughs were loud and frequent, the audience well and truly on board. ...Three in the Bed is a highly enjoyable evening of musical entertainment. ...it’s likely you’ll be entertained by the work of Holmes and his talented team. Musical theatre fans should check this out.

Theatre People

Tim Garratt

...a sexy show full of double entendre, partial nudity and risqué jokes lapping over the footlights.  There is a moist joke to be made here… not that I have the fortitude for it. Luckily, we have Jonathon Holmes to bring the blue. THREE IN THE BED is a frothy, fun romp about the pleasures and perils of diving head first into hedonism...

The music, the voices, the mix and the performances are all terrific.

Aaron Robuck leads the cast as Tim.  He has quite a task, hardly off stage and with several solos which he bosses like a man. (Oh dear.)   He can be vulnerable too. His early solo, ‘More Than Fine’ is paced beautifully and sits so well in his range.  He follows this up with a rollicking character piece in ‘I’ll Be It’ … some cracker movement for this charmingly awkward suitor here too, he really does embarrassment well.

His object of affection for that song is Zoe who is played with elegance and class by Alicia Rose Quinn.  Quinn does a great job of avoiding the tropes of sex kittenishness and this tiger neither belittles nor lampoons the sexually confident female.   And she can sing up a storm as her duet with Jessica, ‘Cupid’, highlights.

As Jessica, Daniella Mirels is perky and persistent and willing to give all for love.  Her solo ‘Flattered’ is vocally shattering with very shrewd impulse work to guide it.  The audience loved that song and it’s my pick of the music too.   Adin Milostnik also does a tremendous job of the not so smart Ben.  His good-natured confusion is really funny to watch and enjoy.

The scene stealer when she appears is Caroline Oayda who brings an Emma who is perky and irrepressible and a hoot when she turns into nasty, tasty Amy.  Her physicality when pissed is hilarious and her “shake it all about” had me in tears of laughter.

There are several really lovely scenes.  I especially enjoyed the domestic drama of car scene which was comic  as hell but the ring of truth about relationships was not to be ignored.  There was a well-controlled sadness to the scene.   I also loved the infectious ghastliness of ‘Tissues’.

...never overdoes itself by straying into crass or crude.  Mind you, Jonathon Holmes has also directed so he doesn’t miss a chance to embellish the text.  No opportunity is missed, including words like “lady lips” and there is an extended scene with considerable variation of the issue of “shit”.

...there is a great deal about the show that is memeable.  Plus, the final song, ‘Happiness’ is an anthem for the bullshit around us if I ever heard it.

Sydney Arts Guide

Judith Greenaway

Jonathon Holmes' new Australian musical THREE IN THE BED is a riotous, ribald and somewhat relatable exploration of the perils of relationships. Following a successful premiere season in September 2017, this cautionary tale of the misadventures of an impromptu ménage-a-tois returns to New Theatre.

Holmes' music ranges from the gospel intro, led by Ben (Adin Milostnik), to more mainstream musical theatre styles, all supported by Natalya Aynsley's (Music director/piano) 5-piece band situated off stage. Whilst the story has a general universality aside from a few Australian references like our driving demerit system, Holmes has refreshingly opted to keep it as an Australian story, told in the performers own voices which aids in trying to make this farce in some way believable. Mirels gives Jessica a pleading earnestness and resentment in Signs which evolves to a simmering rage in Flattered whilst Quinn's Zoe is seductive in Fishing For Compliments but also a cheeky force in Cupid in contrast to her alternative styling with pink hair and thigh high boots. Oayda ensures that Emma is seem as overbearing, controlling and hell bent on creating what she believes is the image of a perfect relationship. Robuck... as the quintessential nerdy guy unsure of himself but suddenly landed with a great opportunity. Milostnik ensures that the dumb cool guy [Ben] is seen as sensitive with the smooth realisation of The Package.

The work has a good balance of comedy, both in the text and the physicality. Mirels and Quinn present a delightful pas de deux and the choreography of the menage-a-tois and aftermath is well constructed. The content doesn't shy away from the reality of relationships making a show with many moments of recognition and relatability regardless of whether the audience has explored trios. This honesty, which is isn't always covered with innuendo, means that this work is definitely not for younger audiences or those with prudish principles.

THREE IN THE BED incites roars of laughter and groans of recognition, making for an entertaining night of light theatre ...if you want a light-hearted piece of adult entertainment, grab a drink and settle in for a night of fun.

Broadway World

Jade Kops

Jonathon Holmes’ comedy musical is terrific fun: cheeky, sexy, laugh out loud and unexpectedly full of heart. ...the cast can act, sing and sizzle, handling the script’s performing and the physical comedy (behave…) with flair. This is playful, naughty and hot in all definitions you choose (the “sexy time” is a good natured, funny and, yip, s-word-y, riot), and not in the slightest bit nasty. ...funny lyrics, cleverly staged, great physical comedy and well judged comic acting, with a splash of “ring true-ism”. ...Three in the Bed nails it. Boom.

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Chuck Moore

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