BATS Theatre, Wellington

21/02/2006 - 26/03/2006

NZ Fringe Festival 2006

Production Details

by Jim Cartwright
directed by Titania Krimpas

Purple Fish Productions

A series of short vignettes combine pathos and humour, with all 14 characters played by two actors. Assorted customers visit a pub and encounter a bickering landlord and landlady, and bring them to recognise their own dark tragedy.

Michelle Seton
Luan de Burgh

Theatre ,

1 hr

Versatile actors

Review by Lynn Freeman 01st Mar 2006

TWO by UK writer Jim Cartwright is a gift of a play for two versatile actors, which Michelle Seton and Luan de Burgh most certainly are.

Set in an archetypal British pub, the married owners are engrossed in a bitter battle while an assortment of odd, sad and endearing patrons wander in and out.

Beautifully crafted and equally beautifully performed.


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Accomplished and accessible

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 24th Feb 2006

After their success at last year’s Fringe Festival with a devised work titled Perseus Uncovered, Luan de Burgh and Michelle Seaton, who with director Titania Krimpas make up Purple Fish Productions, return to this year’s Festival with a more accessible play by well known British playwright Jim Cartwright. 

Two is a straight forward play full of pathos and humour about a Landlord and Landlady running a pub in Northern England and the myriad of customers, mainly couples that frequent the pub.  These diverse characters that come and go, all played by de Burgh and Seaton, are in complete contrast to the bickering pub owners who at plays end almost come to blows over an incident many years previous that is at the heart of their antagonism. 

These two accomplished actors slip in and out of character with ease making every one real and believable, their versatility and stage craft as skilful as anything yet seen in the Festival.


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Showcase for versatile actors

Review by John Smythe 23rd Feb 2006

English playwright Jim Cartwright’s third play, Two, began life as To in 1989. (His greatest success was The Rise and Fall of Little Voice which he wrote for Jane Horrocks in 1992.) Now Two comes to the Bats’ Fringe 06 programme courtesy of ex-pat Kiwi actress Michele Seton and English actor Luan de Burgh, whose Purple Fish Productions brought a physical theatre piece called Perseus Uncovered to Bats for last year’s Fringe.

The title To points to the idea that the common denominator for the owners and customers of this little Scouse pub is that they’re all on their way to somewhere else. Even the dysfunctional and constantly bickering landlord and landlady have a journey to complete.

Renaming it Two, which happened soon after its premiere, points more to its value as a two-hander showcase for a couple of versatile actors. And as such it works a treat. Seton and de Burgh each play six customers, some singles, some linked as couples, while narrating as the said pub owners, whose ongoing story reveals their destructive dysfunction is an insidious function of a past tragedy they have yet to resolve.

Their sudden capacity to articulate, at the end, what they’ve bottled up all this time is way too contrived, too obviously serving the needs of the writer ahead of the characters he has created. That said, Cartwright’s insights into people and their relationships have the sharpness and accuracy that readily provoke the pain and laughter of recognition, especially in the skilled embodiments offered by this duo.

Seton transforms completely, becoming each character with total conviction and drawing us into her states of being. Conversely de Burgh projects his roles outward, allowing his performing persona and visible technical craft to permeate most of them. He does a lot of tongue acting, too, which becomes distracting once you notice it. But his timing and the emotional truth both know are fundamental to comedy (they both trained at the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris) ensure each scene is clearly played out.

The apparent disconnect between the various stories, and the way we are plunged into sudden depths of whole new lives, is probably less of a problem for today’s channel-hopping generation that it might once have been. My desire for a stronger thematic spine and a conclusion that rewards the attention we’ve paid to all the component parts may also be less of an issue for live-for-the-moment Fringe-hoppers.


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