Day two into Fringe and I’m already having mini heart-attacks in regards to tickets. I realised that I haven’t packed a student card (to those who know me, this isn’t uncommon) and have already bought a lot of concession tickets. It hasn’t barred me from anywhere so far, so I guess I’ll continue buying them to avoid a significant dent in the bank account. Anyway, let’s get to it!
Two, from the University of York’s DramaSoc, places the audience in an unnamed Northen pub, opening a window into the lives of its patrons. The two actors play numerous roles, from mild-mannered elderlies to bitter owners.
It’s usually hard playing different roles without either making them too similar or making them so dissimilar they appear exaggerated and artificial. Fortunately, the play shows us an array of compelling characters: not easy when bravely sticking to one accent (rather than switching to feign original contrast). Some characters felt like they needed a little more direction to diversify them, but most felt wholly natural in their environment.
Perhaps where Two succeeds most of all is its writing: Northern colloquialisms and quips give way to beautiful writing that subtly oozes poetic charm. Two brilliantly avoids all the pitfalls that come with a small multi-role cast to provide us with a comical insight – paired with perhaps a darker yet contemplative one – into the dainty ecosystem of a typical English pub. With some tweaks to some characters, delivery, and direction, Two could become a fantastic commentary on the relationships people have, and the obstacles those relationships face.(4 / 5)
P.S. Props that, despite a big technical mishap, you were quick to bring back the theatrical illusion. Well done!
I knew this would happen. Never had I any hope of sneaking through the Fringe without being lured in with its main asset: comedy. I’ve never reviewed a comedy show; the woman with the leather-bound gold-tinted notebook, poised to attack with her Parker pen, didn’t really make me feel prepared for what jovial delights were ahead. Anyway, here it is: I came, I laughed, I reviewed.
What strikes you about Riches comedy is the faith he puts in his audience: from asking them to give uncomfortable speeches – letting them sweat under the lights – to blowing raspberries on their unsuspecting bellies, he attempts to manipulate his audience to become, in his words, “a spectator in his own sketch show”. Does he succeed? Well, not so much. Riches has some quick wit to swat down audience members who don’t want to play ball, but sometimes his blind faith kicks the proverbial supports away from his comedy; his BMX sketch flopped painfully as he spent five minutes trying to light a match.
However, despite Riches apparent loss-of-control of his set pieces, and a rather weak sketch to end on, the comic atmosphere still clutched to the audience and, quite frankly, me. To describe it in two words: chaotic comicality.
(3 / 5)