Review: Two

Jim Cartwright’s Two, a two-hander set in a classic northern pub, is a perfect production for the humble setting of the Drama Barn.

Walking into the barn, the set; including a pub sign, dart board and fully decorated bar; and the sound effect of pub chatter and music instantly makes you feel like you are in a pub, helped throughout the performance by authentic drinks and pub snacks. This intimate setting, as well as including some audience members in the pub scene by sitting at tables, allows for seamless immersion from the first line.

The use of the traverse theatre setting is excellent, with all aspects of the space being utilised just as in a real pub and allowing each audience member to have a different experience from the play. There was never any doubt of where the audience should be looking, with Sean Byrne’s lighting design maintaining the atmosphere, as well as highlighting the key areas of interest and action with stage lights.

Both actors’ characterisation is excellent, each new scenario bringing forth a new caricature.

Whilst there are only two actors taking on this one-act play, fourteen characters make an appearance. Max Manning and Evie Jones multi-role excellently, creating entirely different colourful characters for the audience to enjoy. Both actors’ characterisation is excellent, each new scenario bringing forth a new caricature. The humour is pitched perfectly, drawing a swell of laughter from the audience; from the insistently flirty nature of the characters to the sweet ramblings of an elderly couple. The slick transitions are increasingly impressive considering how quickly the actors have to switch between characters in a matter of moments, with no awkward pauses.

The actors constantly display their comic timing, but also give honest performances at the more serious moments that silence the audience, with more shocking physical decisions that will make you gasp and sympathise with the characters. As the play draws to a close, we see a touching, more human side to the previously foolish, larger than life bartenders. They explore the root of their marital issues, their argumentative nature, to make the audience feel uncomfortable at what they are witnessing; a real window into their lives.

Two by Jim Cartwright, directed by David Bolwell. Performing at the Drama Barn on the 21st and 22nd of January at 7:30pm. Tickets available on the door and online.

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