Step Into A Pub That's Also A Play

Two, Chickenshed ★★★★☆

By Savannah Whaley Last edited 40 months ago
Step Into A Pub That's Also A Play Two, Chickenshed 4

Jim Cartwright’s 1989 play Two — a single evening played out in a typical English pub — is brought to life with humour and sensitivity by Rachel Yates and Joseph Morton. The boozy two-hander is a demanding piece that requires multiple costume and character changes for both performers, which both leads manage with a success that reveals both their skill and dynamism as performers, and the first-rate organisation of the behind-the-scenes team at Chickenshed Theatre.

Upon entering, audiences step back into 1989, taking their seats in a bar made highly evocative through the use of stained and sticky pub tables and bar stools donated from pubs in the local area. The scene is dark and musty — an atmospheric backdrop against which the lives of the landlord and landlady, and some of their more conspicuous customers, play out.

Yates and Morton portray a number of varied and distinct characters who provoke drastically different reactions from the audience. Whilst each vignette could easily slip into caricature, the high standard of the performances makes every role not just entirely believable but familiar and compelling.

The play moves deftly between downright hilarious to incredibly poignant in a moment. The interactions between characters expose the layers and complications of people in any one community; as one character suggests, a night at the pub can be more entertaining than a show on the telly, which this production undoubtedly proves.

Yates and Morton are both teachers at Chickenshed, and the quality of their performances suggests that the standard of the courses run here must be high. This community theatre advocates absolute inclusivity, and runs a number of outreach programmes as well as offering BTEC qualifications. With such a fantastic ethos surrounding it, this compelling and highly entertaining production is not one to miss.

Two runs at Chickenshed Theatre until 24 October. Tickets £12/£8 (£5 to 13-25 year olds with StubHub!). Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 09 October 2015