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Two (Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

It’s no mean feat embodying the characters of 14 different personalities within the space of one play. And yet one double act achieve it masterfully in the Royal Exchange’s latest production, Two.

Comedian Justin Moorhouse and actress Victoria Elliott work wonderfully as a team, successfully capturing the essence of a local pub, with it’s externally jovial landlord and landlady, and its many quirky regulars.

Throughout the course of the play, an audience are introduced to the likes of ‘The Other Woman’ – the mistress whose jealousy is taking over her world – Moth and Maudie – the couple with very contrasting ideas of what constitutes love – and the Old Man – a pensioner trapped in his own nostalgia. The two actors do an incredible job of switching from one role to the next, adapting their characterisations with ease and making each and every role as believable as the last. Elliot, in particular, is an absolute joy to watch.

In the play’s description, Two is described as ‘hilariously funny, savagely sad, wistful, surprising and magical’. For the most part, this is entirely true. Cartwright’s script successfully thrusts the audience into a whirlwind of emotion, making you laugh one second and allowing you to hear a pin drop the next.

However, for anybody familiar with the playwright’s work, there is not a significant ‘surprise’ factor. All the same Cartwright-esque conventions remain -direct address, powerful monologues, sharp and witty dialogue -and, as hoped for, each and every one captures the original script’s meaning that behind the façade of many people’s appearance, there is always a hidden hurt.

With plenty of laughs, some heartfelt moments and impressive costume changes, it is more than a happy hour that you are guaranteed after watching this fabulous show.

- Rebecca Cohen


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