Yasmin Reza's play, 'Life x 3', is a comedy with a hint of satire. It was originally written in French but has been translated into English in recent times. The play explores the effect that minor differences in moods and attitudes can have on certain situations. Conflicts in relationships are also covered as the two couples (who of which the play is based around) bicker with each other. The characters in this play have a tragic side to their personalities which has an interesting mix with humour in the play. The following review goes into detail about my personal thoughts on the version of the play I saw, which was shown at the Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia, in April 2002.

Please Note: This review contains some minor spoilers!

We begin with Sonia (Jane Menelaus) and her husband Henri (Geoffrey Rush -- he is also Jane Menelaus' husband in real life!), who are unsuccessfully trying to get the young child to sleep. They hear a knock on their door and are faced with their dinner guests Hubert (Tony Llewellyn-Jones) and Ines (Deirdre Rubenstein) arriving a night earlier than planned. As they were caught unaware, their house lacks food. While Sonia and Henri are coping with the unexpected turn of events, their young child is still not asleep and calls for attention.

The desperate to please Henri (a scientist), and his lawyer by training wife appear to be having alot difficulties in their marriage. However any instability between them is transcended by the conflict between their two guests.

The beauty of the play is the way it captures three different possible situations and outcomes of the night -- based on the way the characters interact amongst each other. As the play progresses, the same night is played over three times with the moods and outcomes improving. The concept is similiar to that of the movie Sliding Doors. The first two parts involve the characters being unkind, cynical and drunk. The final part of the play portrays much more pleasant and happier characters who react to situations in a more positive manner.

The version of the play I saw was enhanced by the bright, abstract and off-balance set, which was designed by Stephen Curtis. It featured a rotating set which proved extremely useful during set changes. A bright green and tilting wall stood out well enough to back up the message of humour and instability of the character's lives. Lighting was used to give off a pleasant atmosphere. The set also featured some wacky yet modern furniture which served the same purpose as the bright green backdrop. Music was heard very briefly, performed by a violinist situated in a large glass box above the set. The violinist played unsettling and strange music, which I suppose was intended to reflect the evening each character experienced.

All in all the play was wonderfully cast and performed. I give 'Life x 3' 4 out of 5 stars.

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