You and Me (Guildford)
This production at the Guildford Mill Studio has a "meandering plot" but eventually builds to a poignant conclusion.
There are certainly stranger ways to pass a Thursday evening than watching Little Soldier's production of You and Me. Written and directed by Roger Simeon, it follows two sisters in a room filled to the top with higgledy-piggledy cardboard boxes and odd bits of mismatched furniture and the uneventful day they have.
From the opening old lady fart, to the half-finished sentences, the audience are left in no doubt that these two women have been in each other's company for a very long time. The action takes place over an undefined period of time (it could be an hour, a morning or even a day) as the sisters bicker, argue, joke, laugh, cry and at one point break out into song.
Determining what actually happens is a little trickier, as the dialogue has the two sisters dart about in conversation and slip into fantasy sequences indiscriminately. Even a slight lapse in concentration will have you playing catch up. This meandering all builds up to the inevitable climax which reveals the sisters' heart-breaking situation, but it certainly takes its time getting there.
As the older, dotty sister, Mercè Ribot is consistent in her physicality and quite charming to watch. Her lilting accent and sedentary facial expressions warm the audience to this batty character and Ribot has excellent chemistry with Patricia Rodriguez.
Playing the younger sister, Rodriguez is a sparky firecracker, howling with laughter and screeching with anger. The two of them slip into hysterics and blind rages, as only sisters can, which makes the final revelation much more poignant.
Sophia Simensky's set creates echoes of nostalgia without ever pin-pointing the time-frame; the piles upon piles of boxes create a cardboard prison for both characters. Single lampshades that hang from the ceiling draw the audience's gaze towards the action and makes the whole set-up feel cosily intimate.
Actors Ribot & Rodriguez bring passion and delicacy to the project and there are certainly some lovely moments in You and Me. However, the meandering plot means that there is a lack of risk until the last five minutes of the show, leaving the audience slightly confused about how they've spent their evening.
- Roz Carter