On Friday, I headed to one of my favourites of the local theatres, Westacre Theatre, for their latest production of Two. Written by award-winning playwright, Jim Cartwright, who is also the author of Road, Bed, Red and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, the play has just two actors playing the multiple characters woven into the story. As soon as I heard about this unusual type of play, I just had to make sure I went along to see what it was all about, particularly knowing from previous productions the very high standard the team work at. I had high expectations and was not disappointed. For a bit of background to the story, here’s the synopsis:
An evening in a pub somewhere in the North of England, presided over by the Landlord and Landlady trying to keep their marriage and the business afloat, visited by an assortment of characters and oddballs who pass through the doors and allow us a short glimpse of their fractured lives. But out hosts themselves are nursing a private grief that will finally bubble to the surface in an eruption of molten anguish.
Wow. The play was just amazing – despite being seriously sleep-deprived and not in the mood to sit in the theatre all evening, it had me gripped from the opening scene and waiting to find out the full story. The characters are a fantastic mix of locals and staff at the pub – all of whom we would instantly recognise from our own locals. But it was the incredibly acting from the two very talented cast members that blew me, and the audience, away. The pair took each scene in their stride, casually and easily slipping between characters with an effortless ease that amazed us each time they walked on stage in another guise.
I absolutely loved the play, which was so different to any other I have seen at the theatre and really showed the cast in yet another light and proving how genuinely talented they are. The two actors had a fantastic chemistry which made their performance as the landlord and landlady even more believable as they move from utter despair and repulsion for each other to a place of understanding and eventually love. It is a touching story and well told as the pair took us on a journey through the characters’ lives and experiences. I was particularly amazed to see how the actor who played the landlord managed to switch between playing a tortured barman, a wife-beater and a little boy, and all within a few scenes.
If you ever get an opportunity to see this play, I would really recommend it. But I would make it a priority to make sure you see at least one performance at Westacre Theatre – you will not be disappointed!
It’s fascinating that however tired we are, if something is really good, it will have us gripped.
I really like watching actors taking versatility to the extreme and show off all their skills to convince you of a particular world.
It really is – I was so impressed by the show that I couldn’t sleep after, I just kept thinking about it! It was great! And me too, it’s always so much more gripping when the actors really commit to the performance and take it further than necessary. Even though it was very clearly a play as the actors gave soliloquies, changed characters and changed costume regularly, and even on stage, It was such an interesting portrayal of reality that the audience were gripped and drawn into their world, even responding to the soliloquies! What was the last play you saw that had this effect on you?