🍷🍷🍷🍷 🍷 – 5 stars out of 5. Plus a packet of crisps!
Two by Jim Cartwright – till 29th April, 2023.
Nicholas Hennegan and The Maverick Theatre Company at the Theatre At The Tabard, 2 Bath Road, London, W4 1LW.
Jim Cartwright’s TWO is the story of one night in a Working Class Pub. Presumably somewhere ‘Oop North’. But the location doesn’t really matter. It could easily be in Chiswick, West London. Cartwright is a Northern Playwright, but the assorted characters we meet as they pass through the unnamed pub are universal. We meet an older woman, looking after a frail, bedridden husband, lusting after the local butcher and taking her reward for the day in a glass of Guinness. There’s an old man, now a widower, but philosophically and without bitterness still spending time with the presence of his dead wife and recalling her “soft cotton hair”. There’s Moth, boyfriend of Maudie and a not-so-young man who can’t help but attempt to seduce, epically unsuccessfully, every woman he comes across. A lost little boy who’s been left in the pub by his forgetful Father. A lustful woman who likes “big men” but who’s own husband is a loved, but “compact chap” and finally has enough. There’s Roy, shockingly posh abuser of his wife, Lesley. And the overweight, loveable and loved Elvis and Western movie fans Fred and Alice (Elvis Presley died from a choked bum, by the way!) And the Other Woman who has had enough of furtive affair meetings in hotels and car parks and has decided to confront her lover… and his wife… in the pub. And against all this are the bickering Landlord and Landlady who hold the pub together in spite of their obvious dislike for each other. Or is it an obvious dislike? We find out that this normal night is not, perhaps, so normal.
The impressive thing with this production is that all the characters coming and going through the busy pub are the same people! Or at least, the same two people. Claire Louise Amias and Greg Snowden give magnificent performances that are lithe and completely believable. Assured direction from Richard Woolnough ensures the action never lags. It’s also incredible that so much is squeezed into such a short time. We started at 7.30pm and even with Two Acts and an Interval, we were back in the ‘real’ pub downstairs before 9pm. But spoiler alert. Parts are hilarious. But parts are shocking. Take your tissues!
The Maverick Theatre Company are known for creating great nights out. And this is another one of those great nights. Go see Two. You may become a regular.
REVIEWER: Billie Andrews.
TICKETS: £18 full price/£15 concessions. Limited number of premium on stage seats available for £20.