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Two, by Jim Cartwright review.

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Introduction

´╗┐Theatre Review of Two. Justin Moorhouse and Victoria Elliott play the landlord and landlady of a northern pub in Jim Cartwright?s play ?Two? at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester. Throughout the play they play seven characters each. From pub regulars to a forgotten child and even to an Elvis obsessive, with love and relationships, being one of two, a continuous theme throughout the evening. The idea is the most private of secrets and personal of problems are exposed within the confines of the traditional English pub. People change drastically all by the effect of booze. The play is on the subject of pub cultures and relationships. With relationships it explores; Faithfulness; Domestic Violence; Old Age; and Death. My initial response to this piece was, it is an interesting story and I enjoyed it. It seemed to be centered on different stages of relationships. The background message seemed to be that trust is the key in all good relationships. The scene that showed a changed relationship was the Roy and Lesley scene. ...read more.

Middle

Where a close up zoom or pan would be used in a movie context the lighting draws us in and pushes us away as the dialogue requires. The chandelier was very effective because they changed the mood during the performance. It changed to a dusty blue colour when it was a tense or a negative moment and went to a yellow colour when the mood was positive. In many ways this could have been identified as a low cost production, considering the seeming simplicity of the set and props, and the fact only two actors played the parts of all 14 characters who each use mime in a performance sense. However, one should not be fooled by its modest appearance. The specially woven carpet combined with shiny black plastic spill shaped puddles induces an authentic soiled pub feeling, this does not look cheap and when combined with the lighting effects during some of the monologues it is barely distinguishable as a designed floor, it really pulls the imagination together. ...read more.

Conclusion

I was glad that they didn?t use real glasses during the performance because the mime showed how phenomenal their acting was. The lighting was exceptionally good throughout the whole play. When the mood changed, the lighting changed. This gave us a more clear understanding of what the theme wasf for that part. As you would expect the lighting went blue when it was a miserable and depressed moment and the lights went bright and colourful when the mood was joyful and exultant. The most important couple are the landlord and landlady who descend into a murderous argument during the night. We only find out their secret at the end of the play - a secret which tears them apart and then brings them back together, and which sends the audience out deeply moved. By focussing on different couples the playwright can change the mood in an instant: the familiar routines of a lady's man, the mind games of a vicious wife beater, the desperation of the 'other woman', the weary attitude of a woman caring for her disabled husband. Cartwright's writing is sharp, spare and full of compassion for the characters who come in to find a breather from a harsh world. ...read more.

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