BWW Review: TWO PINTS - Reflection and Mirth at The Abbey Theatre

BWW Review: TWO PINTS - Reflection and Mirth at The Abbey Theatre
Liam Carney and Philip Judge in Roddy Doyle's Two Pints at The Abbey Theatre. © Ros Kavanagh.

Much like stepping into a pair of comfortable slippers, two amiable aul Irish gents meet regularly at their local watering hole. Each armed with a pint, they follow the same ritual (in no particular order): grumbling, swapping accounts of life events, discussing current affairs, daydreaming, counseling, reminiscing, philosophizing and idling in the comfortable silences in between.

Roddy Doyle, influential Irish novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, has ubiquitously made his mark in literature, on screen, and on stage. Impressively, whilst Two Pints runs at The Abbey, his novel-adapted-into-play The Snapper is running concurrently at The Gate.

The Abbey have made an executive decision to run two shows on the main stage this summer: Two Pints and The Unmanageable Sisters, which I was delighted to attend last week. A big shout out to the stage crew for the Herculean task of toggling two substantial sets several times a week during the two runs.

Two Pints first opened a year ago. Actors Liam Carney and Philip Judge have toured in pubs across Ireland, the US, and UK, and have polished Doyle's three-act pearl to perfection. Their camaraderie is heartfelt and tangible. They are so comfortable in each other's company that they will us to do the same. Not afraid to be honest or vulnerable they provide solid sounding boards for each other.

Two Pints has returned to Dublin and shifted from public house to mainstage. Purists would argue that the piece belongs in a pub where the intimate setting can provide an immersive experience. However, the sheer charisma of Carney & Judge rapidly shrunk the Abbey auditorium and had the audience engrossed and engaged. Director Caitríona McLaughlin nicely accomplished the difficult business of tugging at our heartstrings whilst having us laugh heartily throughout.

The range of topics was delightfully unpredictable: food goddess Nigella Lawson; life, death, and the afterlife; the German football team; strong women - Benazir Bhutto, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice; the Catholic church and the Koran; inappropriate dress etiquette; even Gandhi got the nod.

Master of dialogue, Doyle has triumphed again. The conversation was devilishly witty, gently poignant and fiendishly funny. Generously doused with Doyle's personal brand of colorful language, it gave you a private glimpse into these men's souls - their fears, fantasies, and aspirations. Enjoy a most memorable evening of reflection and mirth.

Two Pints runs at The Abbey Theatre until 10 August 2019

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From This Author Jini Rooney

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