“3 No Trump” – Theater Works

Theater Review – January 16, 2017


Theater Works, Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Peoria, AZ

Cathy Dresbach’s world premiere comedy at Theater Works, “3 No Trump,” is not about our President-elect.  The show has a few disguised and indirect political remarks but actually relieves audiences of the constantly discussed subject for a few amusing hours.

Set in Phoenix, “3 No Trump” is an innocuous comedy about five women who play bridge every two weeks from 1984 to 2003.  It is based on a group that included the playwright’s mother.  It isn’t a masterpiece and has so many local references that it can’t have much life beyond local theaters.

Like most new plays, “3 No Trump” needs work.  Some characters babble unnecessarily about their shallow lives but the play does deal tenderly with a member’s passing.  One thing going for the play is its short running time which permits an understanding of the importance these women play on each other, the play’s main focus.

Debra K. Stevens direction could be sharper to further reduce the running time but the performers playing the women create five distinctive portrayals.  Beyond the discussions of daily life issues and the significance of the group relationship, the play allows us to look back affectionately at the period.  When the play opens in 1984, the group’s host, Shirley, has just completed a long renovation of her tract house that she claims allows her to never again tackle redecorating.

As you enter the theater, Shirley’s finished family room is on display.  Cleverly designed, it recreates the period meticulously and includes such historic clichés s a macramé wall hanging, hideous table lamps with that awful orange glass, a large television cabinet that serves as furniture, drapes with shears, an orange sofa introduced with Shirley’s pithy comment that “orange is such a timeless color,” an unnecessary afghan, dreadful ‘60s end tables, wooden dowles in wall openings, and a gigantic magazine holder that typify a remodeled ‘80s home that remains entrenched in the ‘60s.  It’s quite a picture that doesn’t change during the play’s almost 30-year duration.

“3 No Trump” is amusing but undistinguished as it gives audiences a heartfelt look at women stuck in time hoping nothing rocks their boat.  It continues through January 29.  To order tickets, call the Theater Works box office at 623-815-7930 or order tickets online at www.theaterworks.org.

Grade: C

It’s official – the Broadway musical success “Hamilton” arrives here January 30 for four weeks as part of the 2017/18 ASU Gammage Broadway series.  The complete seven show season will be announced March 27 but also confirmed is the intimate “Fun Home” musical.  Rumors suggest other entries may include the recent “King and I” and “Color Purple” Broadway revivals, “Something Rotten, and “Waitress” plus another show.