By Hollie G. Davies for Eventful Capital
My love for theatre brought me to The Gladstone this week to discover a play being presented as part of its current season. The Gladstone is a professional theatre based in Ottawa since 1982, first becoming the home of The Great Canadian Theatre Company (which is now on Wellington West since its relocation in 2007). During this time, local businesspeople Marilisa Granzotto and Steve Martin acquired the building, revitalised and rebranded it, and reopened it as The Gladstone in 2008.
This week, I had the pleasure of attending “Two” by Jim Cartwright, the latest play presented at the theatre. The theatre itself gives off great vibes, from walking into the cool venue to the personable staff, complimentary coat check, and of course, the bar. For this particular play, the public is welcome to order drinks and sip them in the theatre at their leisure whilst watching, because the entire set is essentially a pub. There are tables placed directly on the stage that theatre-goers are welcome to sit at, making you feel as though you’re part of the action.
The stage is set as a public bar in Northern England in 1989. In a nutshell, the story centers on a bickering husband and wife who own the bar and work there together. Periodically, dozens of regular customers who come to the bar throughout the course of an evening are portrayed, with the audience’s attention being drawn toward intimate relationships. For example, an elderly woman caring for her husband stops in for a pint, as well as a couple whose relationship is tainted by physical abuse. What is most impressive is that each character is played by the same two actors: Michelle LeBlanc and Richard Gelinas, who completely nail the different accents and characters. There’s not doubt about it: LeBlanc and Gelinas are talented actors who offered stand out performances.
Filled with monologues, the play presents a very intimate performance, including plenty of engagement and interaction, made especially hilarious thanks to Gelinas’s fine acting. Without revealing the ending, a little boy is eventually left behind at the pub by his father, which sparks insight into the bar owners bickering ways and strained relationship, ending with a revelation of their own personal tragedy.
“Two” is provocative, emotionally raw, and delivered by top-notch acting. If you enjoy theatre, this is a play you’ll definitely want to see, but maybe with a pack of tissues – if not for the tragedy, then for the laughter.
“Two” is featured at The Gladstone until January 31st, 2015 with nightly shows Tuesdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary, so consult The Gladstone’s website for more information.