Three men dressed in white find themselves in a world of white furniture, draped with white cloth. Who are they, where are they, and why are they? Are they just the stereotypes of a joke – the type of joke that starts ‘There’s an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman? And if they are in a joke, how do they get out?
The play stars John Bett as the Englishman, Sylvester McCoy as the Irishman and Robert Picardo as the (sort of) Scotsman. Each of the characters arrives separately, and McCoy and Picardo's entrances are provided with music cues that reference the sci-fi franchises the actors are famous for – McCoy as the Doctor in Doctor Who, and Picardo as the doctor in Star Trek: Voyager. It’s a nice nod to the actors, who are clearly a big draw for the audience.
The characters quickly work out that they are stereotypes, and start wondering what to do next. The Englishman is pessimistic and is for doing nothing; the Irishman is curious and hopeful, and recommends trying everything; the Scotsman, after painfully contorting his ancestry from America back to Scotland, is happy-go-lucky and willing to follow the others. The gags come thick and fast as they attempt to finish the joke so that they can all move on, and further intrigue is provided by crumpled red paper balls thrown on to the stage – the only colour the whole production sees. Written on the papers are single words: ‘The’, ‘Music’, ‘Will’, ‘Come’, ‘And’, ‘Sing’. What does it all mean? A song of course!
The script is ambiguous, and at times it can be quite difficult to work out exactly what is going on. If you are willing to go with the flow – along with the characters – then this is fine; however, the lack of clarification will surely annoy some. Nonetheless, the conversations between the characters are a hoot, especially the childlike joy of the Scotsman perpetually winding up the Englishman with his seemingly complete inability to understand how a joke works. The actors are all very well-cast and are perfect in their roles.
So, while it’s not always easy to follow, the performances are great and the jokes are genuinely amusing. Plus McCoy plays the spoons. What more could you ask for?