Jim Cartwright’s Two is one of those crowd pleasers which theatres put on when they want to fill seats. Yet in director Louie Ingham’s hands it is much more than that with her fresh take on the play complemented by splendid acting.
It perhaps helps that Kieran Buckeridge and Ella Vale - who play the pub landlord and landlady and also all the regulars at their establishment - are married themselves. Underneath all the bickering and laughs, the affection is evident. They are most successful though when playing two elderly characters, one caring for her husband, the other a widower still in love with his dead wife.
The play is set in the Dukes’ smaller theatre and the space is cleverly used to ensure the audience feel as though they are sitting in a northern pub in the 1980s. There are even little pub tables for people to put their drinks on and the bar doubles as a place to buy pre-show and interval drinks. There’s also a jukebox for the audience to put on their favourite tunes – all from the 1980s of course.
I have seen this play before but it hadn’t stuck in my memory. I have a feeling that the Dukes' Two will.