Image: Lion and Unicorn Theatre
A short, one woman piece, written and performed by Julia Pagett.
A stark, painful and compelling story which draws upon the dangers of distortion, reality and perception.
Delving into the complex and sometimes incomprehensible bond of twins.
Playing as part of this year's Camden Fringe, this is a short one-woman monologue written and performed by Julia Pagett.
Ms Pagett's slender frame cuts a wistful figure on stage as she relates a sad and moving story about twins which involves the death of one of them - Sophie, her character's sister.
Twins are a fascinating subject for exploration, especially when they are of the identical variety - in part, of course, because we find it hard to get our brain round the fact of two people being so alike in physical appearance.
But that is not the case here though, where the twins are not monozygotic.
That doesn't matter too much, because the many fascinating aspects of twins and their intense relationship provide more than enough material.
The problem with this play, though, is that it is just too short to satisfactorily examine the issues it aims to explore - the complex nature and character of twins, and the death of one of them.
Either of those basic issues could easily fill-up an hour or more of stage time, but as it stands, the running time here is just a little over 20 minutes.
Moreover, there's a recorded song at the beginning which takes up almost a quarter of the time - leaving only around 15 minutes for exposition in the spoken word.
There's nothing inherently wrong with a short play - writers can present their point of view, pose questions or tell a story in very little time at all.
Let's face it, advertisers do it all the time, often in 30 seconds or less.
But the duration of this play just feels inadequate, leaving more questions about the powerful bond between twins in general, and these two twins in particular, than it actually answers.
Moreover, the lack of detail makes the endeavour seem rather rushed, even though Ms Pagett's delivery isn't really hurried at all.
What we do learn of the relationship between these two sisters provides some insights into the complexity of how twins relate to each other.
In particular, we discover twins who were not only physically unalike, but considerably different in character too - more a case, perhaps, of where a pair of individuals each depend on the other to provide different facets of their combined personalities, if that makes sense.
An actor's physical features don't always matter, but Ms Pagett's slim frame amply suggests vulnerability, and that proves a valuable asset considering the subject matter.
But there's also emotional vulnerability in Ms Pagett's acting, providing a haunting aura of sadness and poignancy, though at one point the stronger force of anger punches through as well.
There were several times, though, when Ms Pagett's performance was too static - moments which couldn't be explained away simply by physical immobility from internal helplessness or emotional fatigue, for example.
Stronger direction from Keir Mills at these points would provide Ms Pagett with some effective devices to help enhance the description of her character's emotions through, even minor, physical movement.
That said, Mr Mills does provide a strong, underlying sense of sensitivity in this piece, reflected in some affecting moments and suggesting that it has considerable potential.
So, the basic concepts in this play are certainly worth pursuing and nurturing but, as it stands, it feels somewhat underdeveloped and incomplete.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for The Lion & Unicorn Theatre
Our show listing for Sophie
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