Katy Brand's comedy drama 3Women is 'a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment'

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

Madeleine Burton reviews 3Women at the Abbey Theatre Studio in St Albans.

Dress rehearsal for 3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women at the Abbey Theatre Studio in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre - Credit: Abbey Theatre

3Women, not the most inspiring title but one which totally encapsulates the comedy drama by Katy Brand that is currently being staged by the Company of Ten in the Abbey Theatre Studio.

For, with one exception, the waiter played by Romy Kelleher, it focuses on the three women of the title, matriarch Eleanor, her daughter Suzanne, and granddaughter Laurie.

The trio come together in a hotel room on the night before Suzanne’s wedding to Gary whom we don’t meet but learn lives in Hitchin – cue much laughter.

And laughter there is aplenty as fuelled largely by alcohol and a succession of snacks, a lot of truths emerge that have never been spoken of before.

Dress rehearsal for 3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women at the Abbey Theatre. - Credit: Abbey Theatre - Credit: Abbey Theatre

3Women is first and foremost a comedy, especially in the first half before the more serious issues surface.

But its strength is that as well as providing plenty of laughs it demonstrates how women’s expectations have changed and particularly the extremes between the life that Eleanor has lived and that which Laurie is expecting to live.

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And perhaps ironically, although the lives of all three women are markedly dissimilar, fundamentally the trio have more in common than they realise.

Rehearsals for 3Women at the Abbey Theatre.

Suzie Major in 3Women at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans - Credit: Abbey Theatre

Suzie Major, arguably the Company of Ten’s finest comic actress, is superb as Eleanor.

Her character has the best lines but she also totally captures the bitterness of a woman who bemoans the fact that her true potential has been smothered by motherhood and the expectations of her time.

Suzanne, a strong performance by Victoria Lenza, also feels her life has not been as she expected. A single mother to Laurie, she wants a future in a safe and possibly dull marriage, where she feels valued and loved above all.

The character of Laurie, still a teenager, is the only one I had a slight difficulty with but that was nothing to do with Megan Gardner’s well-observed and punchy performance.

Her talk about gender fluidity, non binary and the like seemed a bit too stereotypical and clichéd but maybe that is because the media, social and otherwise, bombards us with it all the time.

Dress rehearsal for 3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

Dress rehearsal for 3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

3Women, directed funnily enough by a man, Philip Reardon, who is clearly in touch with his feminine side, is a very enjoyable evening’s entertainment – particularly if you are a woman.

3Women runs until this Saturday, April 30, and tickets are available at www.abbeytheatre.org.uk

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

3Women by Katy Brand at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. - Credit: Abbey Theatre