My Top 5 Productions ~ 2017

2017 has been a bumper year for Break A Leg, we’ve literally been all over the place in as many theatres as possible and loving every minute. There’s been some new links made which we’ll be taking forward to 2018 and a couple of new reviewers are joining the team to cover London theatre. Thanks also go to Chloe Buckles who has guest blogged for us and hopefully she’ll carry on doing so for the new sister blog TV & Movie Scene

Anyway, without further ado – here are my top five favourite theatre productions of the year.

  1. Blood Brothers ~ My ultimate favourite musical and they have one of the best casts ever at the moment. I have managed to get along to see the show three times this year. At Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and at Nottingham Theatre Royal with Lyn Paul in the role of Mrs Johnstone, but also at De Montfort Hall where the added bonus was that Sarah Jane Buckley was playing the role of Mrs J while Lyn Paul was off – one of my most unforgettable moments of this year is definitely having the opportunity to see Sarah Jane in the lead role. I’m already planning a number of return visits for next year. From the score to the exceptional performances to the story and setting itself – this is my musical of choice every time.
  2. How The Other Half Loves ~ I saw this production last year when it was in the West End and I loved it. This year it toured and I managed to catch it at Malvern Theatres, it’s one of my favourite farces and even with some cast changes from West End to touring, this one has still stood out as a highlight of the year. Robert Daws was a fantastic addition to the cast as was Sara Crowe – I’d have loved to have seen it a few more times before the tour finished. Such a watchable piece and belly-laugh-inducing.
  3. 9 to 5 The Musical ~ This piece never fails to bring a smile to my face and the incarnation performed at Upstairs at the Gatehouse will forever be a happy memory. To be able to watch the show in such an intimate space with a strong cast was a pleasure and a privilege. Thanks to Joe Hodges and the cast and crew for an experience like no other.
  4. The Hollow ~ I made a concerted effort to see more locally-based theatre towards the end of this year and fully intend on keeping to the same path next year. Especially as so many fantastic companies and theatres in the midlands and surrounding areas have embraced my little blog. The Hollow was the first of two Agatha Christie plays I saw at Stoke Repertory Theatre and I loved it. A strong cast, some of whom were familiar to me and others who I’m so pleased to have discovered. I’m looking forward to seeing more of United National Theatre Company’s work in the new year. They do great theatre and they are doing the Midlands proud.
  5. All Our Children ~ My first trip to Jermyn Street Theatre and to see my lovely Rebecca Johnson being her amazing self on stage, too – a real treat. The play was a debut piece by Stephen Unwin who I am mostly familiar with as a Director. It was and remains one of the most intensely moving theatrical experiences of my reviewing career to date. I enjoy theatre that challenges the way I think and this play offered the chance for that and much more. The easiest five stars I’ve ever pulled out of my bag of stars!
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9 to 5 The Musical ~ Upstairs at the Gatehouse

9 to 5 The Musical stays at Upstairs at the Gatehouse until Saturday 30 September 2017 – book your tickets here: 9 to 5 Tickets

Star rating: *****

9 to 5 the musical is a show I am extremely familiar with, I always feel that it’s the ultimate feel-good show and extraordinarily empowering to women in a tongue in cheek way! No wonder, really, given that it’s essentially a Dolly Parton show. Indeed 9 to 5 is surely the track that most people associate with Ms Parton.

9 to 5 the musical is based on the popular film and features an uplifting selection of musical theatre numbers, an excellent showcase for the actresses taking the lead roles. This particular production of the show has been produced and directed by Joe Hodges and it is without doubt the best incarnation I have seen. Although the space at the theatre is limited, the best use has been made of it with a set which blends into the background, allowing the performers to lead the action. Chris Whittaker’s choreography is slick, engaging, eye-catching, doesn’t shy away from technical splendour and works brilliantly in the space.

The story revolves around three ladies who work for Consolidate, from 9 to 5! Violet (Pippa Winslow), a widowed single mum who’s ambition is to be CEO of the company, Doralee (Louise Olley), glamorous ‘dolly bird’ who is a ‘Backwoods Barbie’ and wholly misunderstood and Judy (Amanda Coutts), a divorcee-to-be who has never been employed before. Their boss, Mr Hart (Leo Sene) is a chauvinist and egotist of the highest order, he’s dismissive of Violet, rude to Judy and regularly trying it on with Doralee, even though she’s happily married. Add into the mix, Roz (Samantha Giffard) who worships the ground that the boss walks on, and sneaks around to over-hear conversations and snitch on her colleagues. When a Marijuana-induced daydream of Violet’s almost comes to fruition courtesy of rat poison versus sweetener, the three women find themselves in an unbelievable situation, with their boss held hostage and they ship Roz off to France for good measure.

Leo Sene is superbly creepy, snivelling and easy to despise – he makes the character his own and has powerful vocal ability. Amanda Coutts is perfectly cast as Judy, perpetual worrier, quoting trivia when she’s nervous and Coutts has an incredible solo in act two – “Get Out, Stay Out” which she almost spits at her ex husband, what a performance de force! Louise Olley as Doralee puts in the right balance of Dolly Parton (who played Doralee in the film) and her own spin on the character. She’s sweet with an edge and “Backwoods Barbie” is one of the highlights of the show, such a beautiful musical number which plays to Olley’s many strengths. Pippa Winslow as Violet is a match made in musical theatre heaven. Not only does Winslow sing and dance (en pointe, too!) to an outstanding, show-stealing standard – she gives the character substance and appropriately underplays her part at times. The trio of ladies have a believable on-stage chemistry which moves the show along fluidly. Samantha Giffard must also be commended on an excellent comedy performance as Roz, not too over the top but just enough manic going on to cause her to stand out for all of the right reasons.

Miss this show at your peril, watching it on a small-scale will alter your perception of the story, the intricacies are laid bare and a stronger, tighter ensemble you will be hard-pushed to find. It’s a feel-good master-piece and I would gladly watch it over and over again.

Spotlight On… Star of 9 to 5 The Musical, Amanda Coutts

9 to 5 will burst onto the scene at Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, London from 30 August to 1 October 2017, book your tickets here: 9 to 5 Tickets

Read all about it here: 9 to 5

Amanda Coutts is playing the role of Judy in the show and she told Break A Leg all about the character and what her personal highlights are. 

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Amanda – Tell me about 9 To 5 and your character.

9 to 5 The Musical is based on the 1980 classic movie 9 to 5 which starred Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton. It is set in the late 1970’s and is a hilarious story of friendship and revenge. It follows the same story line of three women (Violet, Judy and Doralee) taking control of their sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical, bigot boss and how the three women gave their workplace a dream makeover to have some Girl Power in a male dominant world. All the music and lyrics are by Dolly Parton who also created the original theme tune 9 to 5 for the film.

I play the role of Judy Bernly originally played by Jane Fonda in the film. Judy is a recently divorced house wife. She is forced to find work after her husband Dick left her for his 19 year old secretary. She gets a secretarial job working 9 to 5 at Consolidated. She has never worked in an office before and she is a complete, emotional wreck. Eventually she becomes good friends with Violet Newstead and Doralee Rhodes and gets more confident as the show goes on. By the end of the show she turns into a strong, independent, single women.

How familiar were you with the show?

I had never seen the musical before but I have seen the film so many times. I absolutely love Dolly Parton and loved the film. It’s such a fun show and the songs are fabulous.

Describe a typical rehearsal….

A typical rehearsal always starts with a vocal and physical warmup. Then we either have a vocal call or dance call cleaning up harmonies and choreography. Then onto Scene Work. There’s always lots of hard work involved but lots of fun and laughter too. We all get on so well.

What is your favourite musical number in the show? Have you got a favourite scene yet? Or a personal highlight?

I have 2 favourite musical numbers in the show. Dance of Death and Shine Like The Sun. I love Dance of Death because I get to dance a bit and its hilarious. Shine Like The Sun is just such a feel good number to sing as a whole company.

My favourite Scene is when the three women capture Hart. Its so much fun and finally we get our revenge.

My personal highlight has to be getting to sing Get Out and Stay Out when Judy finally realises that she doesn’t need her ex husband anymore and she is doing just fine on her own. Its also the most challenging song to sing and I love a good challenge.

What can the audience expect from the musical?

You can expect a show full of laughs with great songs and a cracking storyline. The music and choreography is amazing and we have a fabulous cast.

Why should everybody buy a ticket to come and see it?

If you love the movie you’ll love the musical. But even if you haven’t seen the film you will still really enjoy it. If you fancy a good night out then you will certainly get one watching 9 to 5.

Its a story of friendship, revenge with a little romance and is completely outrageous. The songs will have you tapping and singing along throughout the show. It’s such a feel good show with a lot of heart and will leave a huge smile on your face. 

Thanks so much, Amanda – a great interview and I’m all the more excited to see the show now!

 

 

Spotlight On… Star of 9 to 5 The Musical, Samantha Giffard

9 to 5 will burst onto the scene at Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, London from 30 August to 1 October 2017, book your tickets here: 9 to 5 Tickets

Read all about it here: 9 to 5

Samantha Giffard is tackling the role of Roz and she chatted to Break A Leg about the challenges of taking on the role and why everybody should come and see the show. 

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about your character in 9 to 5…

My character in the show is Roz Keith. She is Franklin Harts office assistant and is secretly obsessed with him! She’s uptight, plays by the rules and loves control!

From my memories of the show, Roz is quite a character – what are the challenges of playing her?

In previous productions she has always been played by older women so initially I thought that was challenging. However I’m playing Roz in her 30’s as there’s nothing in the text that states her actual age!

Any particular favourite numbers in the show?

I really love the opening number ‘9 to 5’ and ‘Get out and stay out’ is also a favourite of mine (Amanda Coutts smashes it!).


Describe a typical rehearsal…

Usually they’ve begun with a vocal and physical warm-up and then we’ve started learning the scene or musical number. This tends to be singing the music/harmonies, having a line read through and marking through choreography. This show has lots of musical numbers so we started with these early on in the rehearsal process.

How do you think the space will lend itself to the musical?

I think it will work well in a smaller space as the majority of the show is set in an office and Chris Whittaker (choreographer) has been very clever with the staging and scene changes.

If you could play a different character in the show, who would it be and why?

I would absolutely love to play Doralee just because I never get to play blondes!

What can the audience expect from the show?

Great singing, high energetic staged numbers and truthful story telling.

Finally why should everyone come and buy a ticket to see it?

Firstly because it’s a Dolly Parton show and she’s awesome and writes fab songs! Secondly because the cast are brilliant and it’s a feel-good musical!

Thanks so much, Sam – I am looking forward to watching you play Roz! 

Spotlight On… Star of 9 to 5 The Musical, Louise Olley

9 to 5 will burst onto the scene at Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, London from 30 August to 1 October 2017, book your tickets here: 9 to 5 Tickets

Read all about it here: 9 to 5

Louise Olley is playing Doralee in the show, Dolly Parton’s role – Break A Leg caught up with Louise to get the gossip… 

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Louise – tell me about 9 to 5 the musical and your character. 

9 to 5 is a really fun musical, it’s about three ladies who work in an office and they are treated as inferior to their male colleagues – particularly by their boss, Mr Hart. The ladies decide to get their revenge, they kidnap him and while he’s gone they change things for the better. My character is Doralee, she is a real Texan home-girl from very humble roots. Her appearance is very glam and sexy but she has got a massive heart and is in a very happy marriage, so the attention that she gets from the men is unwanted.

How familiar were you with the story?

I didn’t know the story, I hadn’t seen the show on stage or the film. I knew the character of Doralee as I’m a massive Dolly Parton fan and she was Dolly Parton’s character in the film so I knew that I would love to play her at some point. I have since done a lot of research, seen the film and watched a lot of footage from various productions of the show.

Do you think that the space will lend itself well to the production?

I think it’s going to be perfect, I’ve seen a few shows at the venue before and it’s a very intimate space which I think this piece needs really. The storyline is very intimate and the characters are very real so it will be nice to be close enough to the audience to bring them into the story with us.

Now you’re in the throes of rehearsals and you’ve got to know the story so well, is there another character that you would love to play if the chance occurred?

That’s a good questions! There’s a character called Margaret in the show and she’s a bit of a drunk, she’s a really fun character or Roz is another character I’d love to have a go at, she’s totally in love with Mr Hart while the other girls all hate him! She’s a great character and the actor who’s playing her, Samantha Giffard is really getting her teeth into that character, she’s going to steal the show!

What led you into a performing career?

I was three when I started performing and I loved it, I was about seven when I decided it was what I wanted to do for a career. I was just doing school plays and realised that was where I was happiest and confident. I fell in love with it around that kind of time and went to University before I went to drama school because I wanted to have a good theatrical knowledge and I did a very theory based course, I also wanted to make sure it was definitely what I wanted to do because it’s a very difficult industry. I decided that I definitely still wanted to do it and my passion for it increased, so I went to drama school and here I am!

Are there any particular roles that you would like to play? 

I’d love to play Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, that’s a big one for me. I also really love classical musicals, last year I did Allegro at the Southwark Playhouse so if that went any further I would love to do that again.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket and come along to see 9 to 5?

You’re not going to regret it, it’s such good fun, the dancers in the show are phenomenal and they’re non-stop I don’t know how they’re doing it. We’ve got a ten-strong cast that feels like a twenty-strong cast and we’re doing massive numbers. You’ll go away with a huge smile on your face!

Thanks so much, Louise – I am so excited to see you as Doralee! 

 

 

Spotlight On… Choreographer of 9 to 5 The Musical, Chris Whittaker

9 to 5 will burst onto the scene at Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, London from 30 August to 1 October 2017, book your tickets here: 9 to 5 Tickets

Read all about it here: 9 to 5

Chris Whittaker has choreographed the show and here he tells Break A Leg all about the process. 

How familiar are you with 9 to 5 The Musical and what will be your unique ‘stamp’ on the choreography for this incarnation?

It wasn’t a show I knew huge amounts about before I came on board with this production. I knew the obvious musical numbers (9-5 and Get Out and Stay Out) and I knew it was a big dance show, or at least has the potential to be. Having not seen any other versions of the show I have no previous choreography to try and emulate or compare my work to so I have free reign to do whatever I want with the choreography of the show.

Does the space influence your choices when you’re choreographing a show? 
Massively, from the set design to the layout of the seats it all has an impact on how I use the space and how I can achieve my vision of the show. For this version of the production we are staging it in the thrust (3 sided auditorium) which means I have to be constantly thinking of the view from all sides of the auditorium and check that no one side has been more favoured or neglected than another. It’s a challenge I really enjoy and makes the show even more interesting to work on.
Who are your personal inspirations?
In terms of my early career a big inspiration was Adrian Edmeades who was the choreographer I assisted for many years and who gave me so many wonderful opportunities.  As for the work of other choreographers, I have always loved the work of Matthew Bourne and his ability to tell a story through stunning pieces of dance and my biggest musical theatre inspiration is Peter Darling, his work is visually stunning and so intelligently put together. The “school song” from Matilda is one of the most incredible pieces of musical theatre staging I have ever seen, it’s such a wonderful combination of choreography, set design and direction that you can’t picture where one department finishes and the other starts.
Have you a favourite piece in your previous credits? 
Working on last Christmas’ production of Anything Goes was a true highlight, having brand new dance music written for the show and being able to create my own version of them was brilliant. Creating a new 4 minute dance break for the title song with amazing tappers made me so proud each time I watched them perform it.
What led you into a career as a choreographer? 
Like most choreographers I started out as a performer, became a dance captain and was lucky enough to have a choreographer who took me on to be his assistant on some amazing work, I was then offered a production to choreograph myself. This lead to another director asking me to work with them and I’ve been fortunate enough to keep working as a choreo ever since, I’m truly grateful for the amazing productions I’ve had the chance to work on in my short career so far and look forward to adding 9 to 5 to them.
Any advice for budding choreographers? 
Enjoy performing first. Don’t rush getting into choreography just because it’s somewhere you want to end up, the best choreographers are ones that have learnt and absorbed from the best around them. Be in the rehearsal rooms, see how mistakes are made and solved, learn how productions and ideas are put together and built through collaborations of directors, designers, MD’s and casts.

Finally why should everyone come and see 9 to 5 The Musical?

It’s a brilliantly uplifting and fun show with phenomenal cast performing some amazing songs. I can’t wait to get started on this production and think the team we’ve got together are all wonderful.
Thanks so much for the insight, Chris, I can’t wait to see what you’ve done with this fantastic show! I am expecting great things from the looks of rehearsals! 

 

Spotlight On… Star of 9 to 5 The Musical, Leo Senè

9 to 5 will burst onto the scene at Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre, London from 30 August to 1 October 2017, book your tickets here: 9 to 5 Tickets

Read all about it here: 9 to 5

I caught up with Leo Senè, who plays Franklin Hart Jr. in the show…

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character?

9 to 5 is a staged musical version of the classic film of the same name, which stared Dolly Parton in one of the main leads. The musical follows the same story of three women taking back control from their sexiest and egotistical boss. It follows Violet, Judy and Doralee on their journey of discovery and female power in a male dominant world. The musical comedy has music by Dolly Parton who created the original song 9 to 5 for the film. 

I play the role of Franklin Hart Jr, the boss of the workplace and the stories “villain”, he is an incredible vain and egotistical man who makes all of his employees lives a living hell, especially the females. 

What was your initial impression of the script?

The first time I read the script is immediately saw how much heart is in the story. Amongst all of the comedy, music and dancing is this true to itself piece about friendship and standing up to adversary. It is incredibly uplifting and brings a sense of pride with it. The writing is incredibly witty and smart and really gives you clear insight into these characters within the first few scenes. From there its builds and builds and the writing enables us to love all the characters, and mainly relate to them all in some way. 

 

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

The challenge of any piece of theatre is taking it from the script and putting it onto the stage, what 9 to 5 does so well is that the writing does it all for you, which as an actor is a blessing. The lines and the narrative are so full detail it lends itself to be played in so many ways. 

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

In my eyes this role is a gift, Franklin Hart is so full of character and I just want to do the script justice. I want people to love to hate the character, be on the verge of finding him so outrageous yet hilarious at the same time. That’s all said without giving to much away, everyone will have to come and see the show and what all the cast bring to the stage. 

Leo with Pippa Winslow, in rehearsals

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

The gatehouse is such a renowned venue and I myself have seen shows at the venue and always surprised how the creatives make such an intimate space seem so full of life. It will be the intimacy that will play to this shows strength. The story carries the show and in the surroundings of the gatehouse auditorium the audience will feel right among the action.  

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

9 to 5 is such a classic feel good show, it has heart and is full of laughs. It is an incredibly tight and well written musical, with songs that will have you tapping along throughout the show and singing them all the way home. There is no better way to spend an evening than at the theatre, 2 hours away from anything else and just be in the world that theatre provides. So make sure you buy ticket before they all go. 

Thanks so much, Leo – I can’t wait to see the show, it’s one of my favourites! 

 

Spotlight On… Stars of Paper Hearts, Adam Small and Gabriella Margulies

‘Paper Hearts’ runs at Upstairs at The Gatehouse from the 2nd May – 20th May before embarking on a tour to Germany. Purchase tickets here: https://upstairsatthegatehouse.cloudvenue.co.uk/paperhearts

Break A Leg interviewed the two leads, Adam Small who plays Atticus Smith and Gabriella Margulies who plays Lilly Spocket in the show:

Adam Small playing Atticus Smith

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character…

Paper Hearts is an uplifting rom-com musical set in a high street bookshop. Think ‘You’ve Got Mail’ but this time it has an awesome pop/folk score and it’s half set in Russia. It sounds unusual but stay with me! We follow the story of my character Atticus Smith, a talented but disillusioned writer as he tries to finish his novel Angel Star – a Russian story of love and betrayal. His whole world gets flipped a number of times by a number of things, including the introduction of the headstrong and intelligent Lilly. We go on the journey with him as he tries to fight for what he wants and overcome the barriers.

What was your initial impression of the script?

When I got the script this time I couldn’t believe how much it had changed and developed since our Edinburgh run last summer. It had grown and matured so, so much. Liam O’Rafferty’s writing had me laughing out loud in coffee shops and tearing up on the tube. I’m so proud of where it has come from and so excited for an audience to see this new version of the script!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

I don’t know if its ever easy putting on a new musical, but it isn’t always guaranteed to be fun. However thanks to our incredible and inimitable creative team: Tania Azevedo, Dan Jarvis and Lindsay Mcallister it has been such a laugh from start to finish. I feel so lucky to be part of a true collaboration where I’m given free reign to play and come up with ideas. As such, I’ve been given the opportunity to develop my character from scratch and now I’m very territorial! Tania let me build him and create him right from the first day of rehearsals up to what you’ll see on stage. I feel very lucky.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

Initially none. When its a new piece you have no idea of who the character is. If you’re lucky you might get a short bio or a brief with some decent adjectives, but you can’t really know a person/character from that. So I came in fresh. However, I was in the lucky position that nobody had ever played Atticus before. He was mine to make and develop. Like i mentioned before, Tania our director, allowed me to create him and if I had ideas as we rehearsed, I was always allowed to try them, discuss them and put them into play. She is an absolute gem!

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

WE HAVE SPACE! In Edinburgh last year we played the show on a stage described as a postage stamp. Which with a 10 strong cast plus drums and cellos and a load more instruments was no mean feat. Upstairs at the Gatehouse will be an absolute blessing because of the sheer size of it in comparison. I think it’ll add a whole new dimension to the show just having that room to breathe.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

Life is complicated and messy and tough. Come and watch Paper Hearts and get lost in the romance, the laughs and the damn good songs!

Gabriella Margulies, playing Lilly Sprocket

Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about the piece and your character…

Paper Hearts is a real feel good love story set both in a bookshop and soviet Russia! It’s about realising and fulfilling your dreams. I play the ambitious and feisty Lilly Sprockett who comes to manage The Final Chapter Bookshop and opens Atticus’ eyes to what his world could be.

What was your initial impression of the script?

When I first read the script I thought what an original structure for a musical – in the sense that it really interweaves two COMPLETELY different worlds. I thought it was going to be an interesting challenge to make it all work smoothly. I was excited!

Was it easy to translate from page to stage?

It was pretty easy getting it up on its feet mostly because everyone involved in the show is amazingly talented and creative. I really enjoy working with Adam and bouncing ideas off of each other, and experimenting with different things.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

One of the things that has been amazing about the Paper Hearts process is that we have all got to develop the script/story together. Adam and I have definitely influenced the humour of our characters – it’s a lot more dry than it originally was. But to be honest, Lilly and I are quite similar.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

It’s amazing that the space is in thrust – it really lends itself to the show’s immersive different worlds and music.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

I would really encourage people to come see Paper Hearts because I have never worked with such a talented creative group of actors and musicians. They inspire and excite me every day.

Thanks so much to both Adam and Gabriella for their fantastic answers, wishing you all the best for the run.

Two Sisters ~ Upstairs At The Gatehouse

Two Sisters has one more performance to go at Upstairs At The Gatehouse Box Office – you can still book tickets for tomorrow night’s performance.

Star rating: ****

This two-hander explores the sibling relationship between sisters, Rika (Norma Cohen) and Edith (Anne Kavanagh). Set on a kibbutz in Israel, their story unravels during the lead up to Rika’s homeward bound journey to London.

Anne Kavanagh and Norma Cohen as the Two Sisters

Rika has been staying with Edith on the Kibbutz and by all accounts it seems that their relationship has been under some strain as they’ve spent so much time in one another’s company. The bickering pair are ‘breakfasting’ together and sniping at one another following an evening’s entertainment the night before, where Edith was allegedly flirting! 80 years of age and flirting, Rika can’t let it go and Edith sees no harm in it. Rika briefly lets go of her ‘bone’ and brightens at the thought of telly and biscuits, although she can’t help herself making a point about the size of Edith’s special biscuits. I’m sure this ‘banter’ will ring true for many siblings out there, the script for this piece is so well crafted by Louw, that every scene is entirely natural. It feels like we as the audience have a window into someone’s front room at home. The differences between the pair are highlighted in several intricate ways, too. There’s the fact that Rika has a daughter and a granddaughter, Janine whom she dotes on and has vast opinions on – and who Edith is also close to, however Edith has not been a mother in the biological sense. There’s Edith’s zest for living a full life versus Rika’s anxious and verging on depressive demeanour. Yet the sisters meet in the middle on several topics, which I felt surprised them as much as it surprised the audience. Their discovery that they share a common link causes ructions and devastation that it seems almost impossible to come back from. Never underestimate sisters, though!

The chemistry between Kavanagh and Cohen is edgy and real, there’s a raw quality to the way in which they play out their relationship which works superbly. The intensity is palpable at certain junctures and their dialogue is delivered sharply and with alacrity when necessary. The static set framed the action beautifully, no frills and exceedingly believable as a home on a Kibbutz.

Two Sisters has the ability to make you simultaneously laugh, gasp and cringe, an interesting journey with an engaging plot. If you’re able to catch this play before it finishes its current run, tomorrow – go!

 

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