It is a Two De Force...

Jim Cartwright's two-hander, written in 1989, and set in a Northern pub is in very safe hands thanks to accomplished twosome - Louis Emerick and Lynne Fitzgerald.

Both versatile performers are renowned for their solo work.

As a dramatic duo they bounce off each other to great tragic and comic effect.

Their outstanding chemistry on stage shines through in this 90-minute production that takes audiences to a Saturday night in the company of life's winners and losers.

A friendly boozer is the location where spirits are high and low and where characters are portrayed with all their securities and insecurities on show - from the pub lothario to the widower with whimsical memories.

It is captivating throughout.

Louis and Lynne have finely tuned a piece of theatre that still travels well - they know the script, hug it and perform it with real love.

Every line of dialogue and body language offers new nuances in this fast paced, sparkling interpretation I have seen it performed by many artists over the 30 years reviewing and each double act stamps his and her marks on the timeless work.

Louis and Lynne work very hard and succeed in telling this collection of diverse tales - with exact measures of pathos, humour, energy and - above all else - a connection with the audience.

Indeed, in the fourteen characters they play - that equates to a football team and subs - they both confirm what a talent they are as individuals and as a team.

They are the bickering landlord and lady who have a story to tell themselves interspaced with a selection of people who we have all met in the pub - from the warm and engaging to the downright irritating - the sad and lonely to the lost and bewildered.

They both switch wigs and costumes at a stunning rate and you would swear there is a whole company in the wings but there isn't.

It's a showcase of two actors who give their all and leave you open-mouthed at their chameleon - like talents.

Billy Joel's Piano Man song features characters just like this and the TV series Cheers focused on people who find solace in a glass or two.

But Jim Carthwright's play is much more than that - it has depth and relevance even in 2014 as the Chancellor knocks 1p off a pint.

The winning formua for this play is that actors can, like Shakespearean productions, put a little bit of themselves in every cameo role and short story.

Louis and Lynne will have you laughing and sighing, shaking your head and crying. Such is their take on people just like you and me.

A simple stage set of a bar and chairs allows our dynamic duo to meet the irregular regulars.

It ends where it starts and from opening time to last orders this two-strong cast triumph in a faultless production that will make you want to go back ... One more for the road.

And the the two popular actors meet audience members in the real bar after the show which is an added bonus.

Cheers, Louis and Lynne for a great night out. Those who see this show will drink to that.


Ale and Hearty.

The play ends its run at the Floral Pavillion on Saturday, March 22.

Performances start at 7.30pm, with 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

 Tickets are from the box office on 0151 666 0000.