| SICK TRANSIT
Service station magic
I REMEMBER someone once explaining to me the concept of a capsule wardrobe. A very few elements but top quality and classic, she said. Which makes Sick Transit capsule theatre. It is another wonderful, spare, gently delighting play by Jim Sweeney. His writing is laconic, witty and touching. It has a wonderful internal rhythm that drives it but lets it swing. Like laid-back verbal jazz. And it is played by a marvellous trio totally in tune with each other.
OK, I’ll stop the jazz metaphor now. The play concerns three ageing musicians - of the kind who are acolytes of Robert Fripp and make toasts like "Flock of Seagulls, what was the point?" on their way back from a gig. Their van has broken down and they are waiting, in a motorway service station, for the AA to arrive.
Sweeney is Mick, an accountant who is playing with his old band for the first time in years. Steve Steen is Phil, who owns a shop that has subsidised his musical career during those same years. And Steve Frost is Dave - the one full-time professional musician of the three. And I use the word "is" in each case, rather than "plays", because "is" is the word I mean.
They wait and they talk and they reminisce. This is theatre as a kind of essential situation comedy. And it is like watching close-up magic. The three performers seem so close to each other that they are like a comedy Hydra - one creature with three heads. In their hands, Sweeney’s taut little lines bounce backwards and forwards between characters like Indian clubs between jugglers. And individually they have the kind of rare, perfect timing that makes what they do look easy.
"The older you get," says Dave, sagely, producing a bottle from his bag, "the more you have to take care of yourself. Tequila?"
4.30pm, until 26 August