TWO

Date 19th October 2021
Society Tynemouth Priory Theatre
Venue Tynemouth Priory Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director Janet Cooper
Musical Director
Choreographer
Producer Tynemouth Priory Theatre

Report

Author: Ken Allan

After eighteen months of lockdown... do you go to the pub? ... or do you go to the theatre?... This evening at Tynemouth Priory Theatre, we were treated to both.

Jim Cartwright's play 'TWO', written in 1989, is set in a busy Northern pub, visited by all manner of 'regulars' and hosted by a Landlord and Landlady whose names we never get to know, but whose problems we are all too aware of.

The play lasts for just under 90 minutes, during which time the two pull off a tour de force by playing all 14 characters we meet. Firstly, it is plain that our hosts' marriage is at its end, or practically so. Their bickering behavior and attitude to one another strains their relationship to its limit. We then meet the pub-goers, who, also have equally more than enough emotional and relationship baggage themselves, which we have to deal with in a very short space of time.

We find out the reason for mine host and hostess' divisions at the end of the piece, and that, combined with the problematic stories portrayed by the others, makes us realize that these are people you would find in any pub, in any town in the country. The only down-side to the work is, for me, its lack of a thread; perhaps linking the characters and story. But that in no way diminishes its relevance or dramatic association which we are all drawn into..

The Priory have to be congratulated for taking on a very difficult piece for their first play back after everyone's long and enforced absence, the challenges of which they all rose to  extremely admirably. Janet Cooper directed this two-hander very well; capturing all the pathos, high emotion and comedy the script requires. The two main principals; Jennifer Woods and Alex Swan succeeded in their character portrayals (and sometimes very quick costume changes!) with aplomb. Their dedication and acting skills shining through triumphantly. The important bar set; built impeccably well by Robin Cooper, and managed by Stuart Davidson with props by Lesley-Anne Crawford, dressed by her and Chris Carr helped to bring the action to life. A sensitive lighting plot by Tony Hall and complimentary sound design by Andy Gilmore and operated by Matthew Hall also added to the excellence of the production.

Thank you to Ann, the Joint Chairs; Ali and Vicky for your welcome to your lovely theatre. The National President of NODA - Gordon Richardson, Regional Councillor - Peter Oliver and myself all had a thoroughly enjoyable night's entertainment. Well done to all involved!.

Ken Allan