Saturday, 10 October 2009

Two - Oldham Coliseum Theatre

Writer: Jim Cartwright
Director: Joyce Branagh
Reviewer: Ruth Lovett

Two is set in a non-descript Northern local pub in the 1980’s that is frequented by a variety of local characters all played by just two actors, Claire Sweeney and Matthew Rixon.

Throughout the course of one evening in the pub, we are introduced to various regular customers who visit the pub having initially met the landlord and landlady who we keep coming back to throughout the evening who appear to be like many couples who have been married for a long time and who work together in that they are fed up of each other, constantly bickering and snapping whilst putting on a united front for the customers. It son becomes apparent that there is something simmering away beneath the surface pushing the husband and wife apart.

The set is fairly simple with minimal props but the sound effects (Lorna Munden) used are subtle yet very effective in that the dull background chatter of a pub is delicately played in the background and really captures the atmosphere of a typical pub as well as the clinking of glasses and sound of pints being pulled and optics dispensing drinks really works very well to entice the audience in to the scenes that unfold.

Both Sweeney and Rixon perform this challenging piece with great skill and intensity both excelling at various points and really bringing to life some of the characters more successfully than others. Sweeney is particularly adept at portraying the landlady who is a much deeper character than we are originally lead to believe.

In short, Two is a delightful play, which could take place in any northern pub and is easy to identify with but highlights that all may not be as it seems on the surface and that the face we present in public may not be a true representation of who we are really and what we feel. It is an emotional two hours with some good laughs, some sombre and distressing moments but an entertaining show that should not be missed.

Photos: Ian Tilton
Runs until 24 October 2009.
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