BWW Review: TWO at None-too-fragile

BWW Review: TWO at None-too-fragile

Superb performances enhance compelling "Two"at none too fragile

Roy Berko

Member, American Theatre Critics Association, Cleveland Critics Circle

Jim Cartwright, the author of "Two," which is getting an outstanding production at none-too-fragile theater, is an English dramatist who writes about the lives of the working classes.

His style of writing is often compared to that of Anton Chekov because of the poetic lyricism of his narration. He has the ability to dig into angst and also inject humor in the most tragic of situations, whether he is describing starvation, domestic violence, the death of a child, or cancer.

Cartwright examines the themes of the "individual within versus the community; the nature and power of memory; and oneself as one's own worst enemy."

His style often has a narrator setting the scene, introducing characters, and providing social and political comments, while remaining in character.

His plays, as evidenced in "Two," commonly are a series of vignettes interspersed with monologues, which take the form of a stream of consciousness.

"Two," which is funny as well as heartbreaking, takes place on one night in a pub in northern England. Two actors play 14 characters who reveal a cross-section of the pub's town.

As the scenes unfold the pub's patrons down liquid refreshment and munch on chipsas they tell of their dreams, ambitions, desires, disappointments and frustrations.

We meet the pub's owners, abickering husband and wife, and a range of characters whose tales take us on a rollercoaster ride of emotional highs and lows.

The pub guests vary from a small meek man who is controlled by his wife, a male who does not speak but interacts with the proprietors, to an abusive husband and his terrified wife.

And so it goes until a young boy is left alone by his father and is mothered by the Landlady. When the father returns, and the boy exits, we quickly realize the trauma that the departure has on the woman. Raw feelings erupt between the barkeeps and an incident that shattered this couple is revealed.

The play finishes with the lines: Landlord: "I love you." Landlady: "I love you too." But, is that their real feelings? And how long will the truce last?

Derdriu Ring and David Peacock are nothing short of marvelous as the pub keepers and the many characters they portray. The accents, the levels of emotions, and the completely believable characters that are created, are all meticulously done. These are award winning portrayals!

As has come to be expected, Sean Derry's direction is spot on. The pacing and the keying of laughs and angst, are etched with care and purpose.

Capsule judgment: "Two" proves once again that none-too-fragile is the consistently best off-off Broadway theaters in the Greater Cleveland area. The quality of play choices, the prime acting and the spot-on directing, makes going to this venue a theatrical wonder.

For tickets for "Two" which runs through March 31, 2018, call 330-671-4563 or go to

Up next: "Woody's Order" is a solo show written and performed by Ann Talman. It tells the tale of the decision that must be made by Ann, an actress/comedian, who is torn between her Broadway career and being her nonverbal, cerebral palsied brother's caregiver. Presented from August 16-31.

Special event: N-T-F'S "Boogieban" last year was one of the area's most awarded shows. The production received recognition from both the Cleveland Critics Circle and Broadway World. David Peacock and Travis Teffner were co-winners of the Cleveland Critics Circle award as Best Actors in a Non-Musical. N-T-F will be presenting the show in both Chicago and New York later this year. Before it leaves the local area it will be staged again at none-too-fragile on August 2 and 3, 2019. Tickets will go fast. Call immediately to reserve your seats.

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From This Author Roy Berko

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