Two – Viking Theatre – Review by Frank L.
Until August 11th
Written by Jim Cartwright in 1989, the Loose Tea Company’s revival takes place in their homebase of the Viking Theatre. The theatre has been transformed with a full bar created along the left hand side with two casual tables on the right which are occupied by members of the audience. Behind the bar are the long time married owners, husband (Andrew Murray) and wife (Niamh McGrath). During the course of a day Murray and McGrath will create a myriad of different characters who drop into the pub, each with their their own idiosyncrasies.
It is clear from the opening sequence that whatever romance fired their relationship has long since disappeared. The passion between the married couple has been reduced to a loveless exchange of bitter words while each maintains an outward appearance of a happy bonhomie for the benefit of the clientèle which contains a motley crew spanning a wide panorama of human existence. The old, the young, the confident, the meek, the abusive and the abused are all seen along with many others. For good measure there is even a certain amount of interplay with the audience. It all moves along at a merry clip. While some of the characters tell their stories with a great deal of humour, the play is at its most rewarding in its more sombre moments, in particular during the abuser and the abused sequence and the set-to between husband and wife as they clear up after closing time.
The device of customers coming into a bar and having a drink works well as Cartwright investigates the vast number of issues which confront folk in their daily lives. Murray and McGrath with the aid of many costume changes effectively evoke the foibles of the very different persona. The Viking is the ideal space in which to perform Two as it is situated over Connnolly’s pub in Clontarf. It delivers an enjoyable evening in a space which adds its own patina to the text of Cartwright’s play.
Written by Jim Cartwright
Performed by Niamh McGrath & Andrew Murray
Directed by Elyn Friedrichs