There are pub owners and pub punters- Two presents them all. Jim Cartwright’s play is a journal of people, displaying the interactions, emotions and fears of its pub locals. Explosive dialogue, comedic dance sequences and intimate monologues contain the familiar stories witnessed in such establishments. Two people running a pub, a husband and wife, who under the weight of everyday life put their troubles to one side, but they cannot be disregarded indefinitely.
‘Are you lonesome tonight? Do you miss me tonight? Are you sorry we drifted apart?’
Under the guise of an Elvis fuelled drunken evening, the local punters enter the pub with all different intentions and we are some of them. Welcomed by a pre-show, Landlady and Landlord are standing by awaiting our drinks order. Setting the tone for the evening and cleverly displaying the broken marriage that exists between the two leading characters, we are immediately immersed in the action.
Engaged from the offset, this two-hander moves with pace and energy portraying all fourteen characters. Emphasising the pub setting are dynamic transitions, which give light to a new character. The script focusses on a multitude of themes from love to loss and does so with sensitivity and ease. Each character is played with commitment, paying particular attention to the language of Cartwright’s critically acclaimed play. Moth and Maudie battle it out over a handbag, whilst Boy saunters in crying and leaves with a bag of crisps.
Simple in staging, token props are used to represent the individual characters. The minimalistic visual imagery of the bar, table and two chairs enable the audience to build their own picture of the pub. Music and sound effects all add to the frantic nature of the performance, emphasising key moments of action. In the climatic ending, smashing glass soundtracks the intense display of emotion held between the Landlady and Landlord, which leaves a poignant impression on its audience.
True, hilarious and touching this play, from the first round to last orders, has something for everyone. I leave the production longing for a night at the pub. 3/5
Review written by Megan Mattravers.
Two is currently showing at the ADC Theatre until Saturday 17th June. For more information on the production, visit here…
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