You and Me
Roger Simeon, adapted by Bryony Shanahan
Little Soldier Productions
Yvonne Arnaud Mill Studio
Set in one room in an unspecified time period and at an unspecified time, two sisters inhabit a world in which memory and reality collide; in which these two sisters are inextricably linked and yet incredibly distant.
Written by Roger Simeon but adapted by director Bryony Shanahan, the script is a mixture of English, Spanish and Catalan. This gives the piece light and shade that an entirely English script would struggle to capture.
The performers, Patricia Rodriguez and Merce Ribot, are exquisitely expressive in their well-observed characterisations and, although at times flamboyant, shy away from the grotesque. Their physicality is marvelous and little make-up is needed to convince the audience that they are playing two old women.
The script ebbs and flows, meandering towards no specific conclusion, but offering an illuminating glimpse into their lives along the way. The love they share is evident but, like most family members, there are underlying tensions that bubble and brew.
The shadow of dementia hangs over their relationship and there is a level of voyeurism at play here. This would perhaps feel intrusive if not for such brilliant comedic flashes. By including moments of the absurd, the potential for maudlin is avoided and the performers ably demonstrate their talent for clowning, capturing a sense of playfulness alongside the more heightened tragic, emotional states.
Performed with obvious passion and flair, this is an intriguing production which is both poignant and engrossing, flirting with many themes but not labouring too much upon one message.
Reviewer: Amy Yorston