Two is an understatement. No less than fourteen characters appear on stage in this production at Chester’s Forum Studio Theatre, played by only two actors – Bill Robertson and Eileen Reisin.
“Full of broad humour, pathos and written with a shudderingly moving poetic style. Eileen and Bill relish in taking the audience on a rollercoaster ride as we look in on what is anything but your normal night down the boozer!”
As the last orders bell rings behind the bar, I question whether it’s the start of the play or just a coincidence (shows how much of a newbie to the theatre I am). The mix of people surrounding me ranges from a group of keen high school students, herded by their teacher and couples enjoying a date night, to small groups of women sipping white wine chatting away. As we step down the staircase, we’re warmly greeted by a member of staff who kindly directs us to our seats. The set-up is small and intimate, unlike any other theatre space I’ve seen. We scoot down the red velvet bench and get comfortable prior to the show. An epic 80s mix soundtracks the crowd pouring in.
As the lights dim, the full cast (of two, may I reiterate) appears on stage and within minutes my imagination adds to the scenery. A bustling bar with chatty locals and glasses chinking comes to mind. An old fashioned local boozer with mismatched furniture and worn carpets come to life as the duo bicker behind the bar.
As the play progresses, I watch the actors transform from character to character, not just in appearance but in mannerisms, body language and voice. Flitting between the simple set of chairs, tables and stools I am completely invested. The drawn-out moments of silence are my favourite; spotlighted, quirks and personality shining without the need for words. At moments, I was left questioning the direction and plot, working on the tiny clues. They resolved themselves at the climax, where pure emotion outpoured before the audience. A cleverly written and executed Two was a great night at the theatre and has really whet my appetite for more.
This show is for you if you enjoy intimate, personal dramas and the opportunity to watch two actors show off expansive ranges, delivering with aplomb.
The performance runs from Wednesday 20th March -Saturday 23rd March at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on Saturday 23rd March at 2.30pm. Tickets can be purchased online here or through the Box Office on 01244 341296.
*all images courtesy of Mark Carline*