Theatre Review – “Two” by Jim Cartwright @ The New Vic

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Image Supplied by the New Vic

Directed by Ruth Carney

 Most people usually either go to the pub or to the theatre ( the bar in the theatre excepted) but it’s very rare to be able to do both things at the same time. However at the latest production at the New Vic the theatre goer has the opportunity to do both. 

“Two” by Jim Carney has a set which has a fully operable bar in the middle of the stage and before the press night production the bar man (Jimmy Fairhurst) invited members of the audience onstage to sample a glass of beer which he expertly pulled.

We never learn the name of the barman or of his wife ( Samantha Robinson) but these two pull off a tour de force by being the only two characters onstage during the course of a play which lasts just under two hours.

During that time they play a total of fourteen characters ranging from bar man and woman who work together all day but whose marriage seems to have reached it’s end to the young couple who have decided (or at least the woman has) that now is the time to tie the knot. By the end of the play we find exactly what the issue is that divides the barman and his wife but we have such a varied journey along the way.

All of the characters have one thing in common, they are all characters who you might meet in your local pub. Different people all brought together in one place by one building. Here there is humour, pathos and all ages of human kind, from the lonely elderly woman to the young lad who is waiting patiently outside for his father while eating a bag of crisps and drinking a bottle of pop.

If there is one criticism, it is that the play doesn’t always flow its is because there are so many varied characters and maybe on occasions they are just too diverse.

Hats off though to Jimmy Fairhurst and Samantha Robinson who put in great performances and deservedly received a standing ovation from a very good audience on the press night.      

Praise too to Ruth Carney, who is originally from Stoke-on-Trent and who, along with voice coach Caroline Hetherington, gets great local accents from the two actors. Lis Evans the resident set designer at the New Vic also deserves praise for her fantastic set with it’s real working bar.

So if you do fancy a drink in a pub and to see a very entertaining production get along to the New Vic for both.

“ Two” runs at the New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme until Saturday February 22nd.

For tickets telephone 01782 717962 or email tickets@newvictheatre.org.uk