Tristan Bates Theatre, London – until 14 December 2019
Guest reviewer: Donna Easton
If the job of the actor is to stimulate emotional responses from the audience through the portrayal of dramatic events, Ingrid Schiller and Verity Kirk have their artform well and truly licked.
In the intimate setting of the Tristan Bates, the stark set (one bench) and minimal production matters not. This is character work and storytelling at its finest. I was transfixed by Schiller’s Laura, an incredibly likeable and relatable central character. She speaks to the audience throughout and her authentic delivery had me completely drawn in to her journey from the outset. From her nine-year-old self in South Africa (falling in love with the idea of being an actress when she sees Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in Dr. No), we are with her. She takes us to London, growing up in an unfamiliar country, and tackles insecurity, eating disorders and being a woman with honesty, integrity and laugh out loud humour.
According to the website, Verity Kirk plays ‘Other’ and wow does she play ‘Other’ with such deft skill. I lost count of the characters she portrayed, from Laura’s disinterested father to the enchanting ‘pregnant lady’ to a stoned love interested Laura has a moment of passion with (which was definitely a hysterical highlight for my friend and I) and ending with an all too familiar ‘Weinstein’esque movie producer that slapped the smile from my face as I felt helpless for Laura in this vulnerable position. With no costume change and with just the help of a hand-held mic, Verity gives us believable character after believable character that provides the yin to Ingrid’s yang.
Genius direction from Stephen Doolan had the characters interact in a way I had never seen before. I left pondering how they could have created such a level of intimacy between the characters without the actors looking at one another even once? It just works beautifully. A perfect double act gave us a hilarious and thought-provoking story which didn’t need any bells and whistles. The exposing environment gave the two actors nothing to hide behind but their exceptional talent and we simply didn’t need anything else. Brilliant!
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