Two of a Kind
by Hugh Janes
After two plays with a serious side we thought that it was time to do a comedy. But comedy is a pretty wide category. Humour in plays can take very many forms, from the broad and often vulgar situation comedy we call farce to the witty urbane humour about the upper classes as epitomised in the writing of Noel Coward. But whilst the material differs enormously the single objective remains the same – make ‘em laugh!
The simple plot tells of the autumn years of Wally, an 'old sea dog', confined to an old peoples home and longing to return to the exotic climes of his youth. It is his confrontations with newcomer George, a military man, which finally convinces Wally to abscond from the home and, financed by his friend May, head for the sea.
The play's author is less well known than the man who played the lead role in the original production. On first reading the play we became convinced that Eric Sykes had not only played the part but had developed the character and the lines during the rehearsal process; so many of the lines have that manic Sykes ring to them.
Cast and Crew
& Jeanette Bennett
|George Fairbrother||Dave Baldwin|
|"Wally" Wallace||Howard Jones|
Director: Dave Baldwin
|Stage Manager||Clive Beddows|
|Sound & Lighting||Philip Preston|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Betty Beddows|
|Front of House||
Dates and Venues
|24th/25th June2005||Bartestree Village Hall|
|29th/30th July 2005||Fownhope New Memorial Hall|
|5th/6th August 2005||Weobley Village Hall|
|12th/13th August 2005||Savoy Theatre, Monmouth|
|19th/20th August 2005||Upton Bishop Millennium Hall|
Summer success for Bare Bones Theatre Company in
“Two of a Kind”
The latest production from Bare Bones Theatre Company has started touring Herefordshire and, once again, (as has come to be expected from this company), on the opening night at Bartestree, we were enrapt from the beginning.
Two of a Kind, written by Hugh James is a touching and at the same time poignant comedy set in a slightly shabby but respectable nursing home. Wally’s best friend and room mate Potts has just passed away very suddenly from a heart attack and, instead of having time to grieve, he finds that he is instead joined by a new incumbent, George. The hilarity begins when we see the extreme contrast in characters of these two men. Wally, an ex merchant seaman is under-educated, somewhat disorganised and has a completely refreshing disregard of the rules set by the nursing home. George, an ex army officer who resents any intrusion into his personal space, is tidy, proper and prim.
George is brilliantly played by Dave Baldwin. We cannot help but like this upright gentleman and feel sorry for his position as inadvertent usurper of Potts’ place in Wally’s room. Dave Baldwin is such a wonderfully strong and natural actor whose ability to use stillness when appropriate is an art to be watched.
Wally, played by Howard Jones, is again a very strong performance. We warm to this roguish character immediately, as he makes his first entrance through the window of his bedroom, having returned from the forbidden outside world. I loved his portrayal in the scene where Wally pays a tribute to his old friend after returning from the Chapel of Rest, having paid his last respects. Howard, playing Wally, brings a tear to the eye as he pays tribute to his friend.
As in every good nursing home, there is of course a matron and a slightly flirtatious older female resident, May. The matron is played in fantastically ferocious style by Loraine Worrall. No-one, other than Wally, would dare to question this woman’s rules, and we as the audience are quivering at the thought of anyone getting on the wrong side of her. This is a very strong performance.
Margaret Baldwin who plays May is a delight to watch from beginning to end. We love the girlish humour that Margaret uses to portray the character and find her sparkle in the eye so very endearing. It is another exceptional performance making the whole production a very enjoyable night out.
The lighting (Phil Preston) and set are up to the usual Bare Bones high standard. The garden scene, which is depicted predominantly by the difference in lighting, works particularly well.
This is a play not to be missed!