by Jim Cartwright
Directed by Mark Kilmurry
Ensemble Theatre until May 6
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
So many Australian characters, such a small cast.
An aptly and imaginatively titled play is the Ensemble Theatre’s latest offering.
Two is set in an Australian country pub that is owned by a middle-aged couple who have lived in the town for all of their lives. They met as children when their parents left them outside the pub, they socialised in the pub, they were engaged in the pub, their wedding reception was in the pub and they eventually bought the pub.
This two-hander includes a range of characters that you would expect to find in a country pub. Apart from the main characters, there’s the domestic violence couple, a time-warp couple, a little boy, a low self-image woman and her sleazy boyfriend (“did you just smile or did someone turn on the lights?”), an old woman and an old man. The old man reminded me of Sandy Stone without the cleverness of Barry Humphries’ writing.
There was a lot of mimed serving of drinks, mimed drinking, mimed smoking and mimed exchange of money with imaginary customers.
Highlights of this production were the skills of the actors. Kate Raison and Brian Meegan nail their numerous characters. Even though there were some monologues that took place while the other actor effected costume changes, the play was in one act, so it was a ninety-minute block. In the last fifteen minutes, the reason for the main couple’s animosity was revealed, raising my interest level. The drama of the plot twist and the intensity of the performances in this section were compelling.
With a simple, fixed set and only two actors, Two could provide a good return on investment for the Ensemble.