Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: Third Floor, Trafalgar Studios

Review: Third Floor, Trafalgar Studios

Published in Time Out, 17.10.2011

Jason Hall ‘s Third Floor is a broad comedy about neighbourly etiquette among residents of a London apartment block. Number 10 irritates the occupants of 11 and 12 (Craig Gazey and Emily Head play the anonymous leads) by leaving smelly binbags outside her door.

As the pair bond over mutual irritation and gritted-teeth tolerance, everything points towards a budding romance, right down to their contrasting doormats. Hers is a tasteful, orderly Mondrian; his welcomes visitors to the “House of Love.”

The romantic-comedy-of-manners contains enough laughs to overcome the sort of heavy-handed funnies for which BBC studio sitcoms get torn to shreds. Despite overusing the downward inflection, Gazey makes average material funny as the gawky oddball in 11, while Head proves a likeable foil with a good line in polite, hasty retreats.

However, Hall tries to squeeze in too much drama from his slight situation and, for all director Russell Labey’s efforts, the play’s unexpected lurch into comic thriller is both clunky and unnecessary.

Photograph: Matt Crockett

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