Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Two’s a lot of company

two cas


The Nonentities


JIM Cartwright’s two-handed play is a considerable acting challenge for any company.

It’s rare to see it staged by an amateur group mainly because of its need for only two performers and the sheer level of work and skill they need to deliver the range of characters and emotions well enough to effectively convey this microcosm of Northern working-class life.

Fortunately The Nonentities have risen to the challenge and have delivered a mature and thoughtful production that fully captures the complex relationships of the revellers inside this 80s pub.

Director Marika Farr is fortunate to have Stephen Fletcher and Sinead Maffei as her leads as between them they depict the locals, both young and old, good and bad, who are all at some differing stage of their respective relationships.

At the heart of the establishment are the landlady and landlord who are both burying a tragic memory that comes to an explosive conclusion as time is called on the evening’s drinking.

There are all types stopping by, like an old lady who talks of the drudgery of caring for her infirm elderly husband back at home, or the inoffensive couple Fred and Alice content with their normal life. Then we have the extreme contrast of the jealous and vicious Roy controlling the meek and bullied Leslie into a frightened life of servitude.

Perhaps Stephen Fletchers most amusing part is as womaniser Moth who is constantly repairing his relationship with his doting girlfriend as he is more interested in her purse than remaining faithful.

Sinead Maffei revelled in the mostly monologue parts particularly the lusty portrayal of Mrs Iger fantasising over `Big men ‘whom her weak husband clearly is not.

There are more to be seen, fourteen people in fact during the course of the play and the actors never flinch once, hold back or slip up during any of the long monologues, biting satire or tragic arguments contained in their respective male or female characters.

All of this is played out in the tiny studio space and include a few moments of direct audience inclusion which adds to the proximity and bravery of the performances.

The set is realistic and well thought out allowing different parts of the audience to get close up to the characters at different stages of the evening.

The last time I saw this pairing of Fletcher and Maffei was coincidently in a bar room setting during  The Weir at The Rose theatre and that performance remains for me, one of the most memorable I have seen on the Midland amateur stage in recent years .

Compared to that, Two is a very different production and whilst not entirely perfect is yet another high quality and enjoyable production which can be added to the company’s portfolio. 

That quality stems from two very fine performances and some excellent direction making it worth you dropping in for a quick one. You are guaranteed to find a part of us all among the company of characters who step through the doors of the busy public house that is Two. To 25-04-15

Jeff Grant


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