Review: Two of a Kind
Image courtesy Bread & Roses Theatre
Fred - Daniel Lockett
Fliss - Lily Cooper
One boy. One girl.
No, no, they do not fall in love.
Why? Because not everybody who is, some people can just be, I mean it doesn't have to be ...
Oh god. Why am I talking to someone when I don't even know if they're there?
How bad is it, before it's too bad?
How are we supposed to know when someone is just a bit down, or when they're actually really fucking down and we should do something about it right now because they weren't actually joking when they spoke about ...
Let's not talk about it.
I can't. Chlamydia.
She totally caught Chlamydia from Fatty Finlay. OH MY GOD I'M TRYING TO GET ON WITH THIS STOP TALKING ABOUT PPI AND FUCKING CONDOMS.But did you hear?
Lurking within this short play may well be the germ of a significant idea.
As I read it at least, that idea is that we can sometimes ignore or merely not notice that someone is struggling to cope with life and having suicidal thoughts.
That is obviously an issue which is acutely important and relevant, and most certainly worth discussing in dramatic form.
The problem with interpreting this play correctly, though, is that it is brief to the extent that it creates more confusion than clarity.
It's perfectly possible of course to get an idea across in considerable detail in a relatively short period of time.
Many plays do so successfully even in 10 minutes or less.
But in Two of a Kind there is just too little meat, particularly in terms of character development and exposition, to really get a handle on what is going on and what we should make of it.
The plot involves two students - Fred and Fliss - working to a tight deadline to produce the outline of a play for a university assignment.
Hours roll by as they struggle to develop ideas.
The characters seem to have a strong bond of friendship and live together, but are not romantically attached.
Fliss has a boyfriend who Fred seems to dislike intensely and, as we learn later, for good reason.
The brevity of the overall running time isn't the only issue with this piece - the structure is somewhat problematic and there are some technical ones too.
The play employs the rather overused technique of bookending the piece with a repeated scene involving Fred, which has the initial impact of unnecessarily telegraphing impending doom.
That first scene was also marred by music which almost drowned-out Daniel Lockett's opening lines and, as we flash back in time, there are lengthy, tedium-inducing pauses that create a negative impact in the following scene and on much of what came later.
And the pacing isn't helped by the nature of the assignment the characters are struggling with, nor by abrupt blackouts for scene changes.
Playwright Mimi Monteith set herself a tough challenge in writing this play since Fliss's character is extremely difficult to describe given that her seemingly bubbly nature is at odds with what is actually going on inside her mind.
But the script gives the audience insufficient detail to fully comprehend the real nature and depth of Fliss's struggle, even if the point may well be that it shouldn't be too obvious.
Moreover, I'm not convinced that the author's intentions were entirely clear in the first place.
The overall result is that I never found myself fully absorbed in either the play itself or with the characters, and left feeling confused and rather disappointed given the importance and potential in the basic concept.
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