Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Beer Tent Reviews- TWO


Review by Danielle LaRose

Life is what happens when you’re down the pub- a slight addendum to the words of John Lennon that perfectly describes Atlas Theatre’s winning production of TWO. Pubs in the North of England are famously cozy places, and in this one, we get to meet the locals. Julian Arnold’s publican is part Scrooge, part bad dad jokes, all still waters run deep with a touch of an alcoholic past put successfully to rest. He plays many carefully drawn characters, but it was Arnold’s older gentleman, a quiet sort who comes in alone for the same tipple every afternoon, who stole my heart away. Ruth Alexander also steps into many pairs of shoes. You’ve never seen a more magnetic or open-hearted performer; we’re always instantly on her side. Alexander’s warm and welcoming landlady wants to know all about your holidays as soon as you walk through the door, and if you’re celebrating she’ll slip you something on the house. Her generosity of spirit betrays a deeper heartache, which she skillfully hides by focussing on others. But it’s not all stag parties and first dates; the unsavoury patrons pay for booze just as the sweet ones do, so they’re here as well.  Although the production balances the dark and the light, the comedy wins out over the drama and it’s the poetic simplicity of life that is the true triumph of this virtuosic performance.

TWO plays at Venue 12, The Varscona Theatre. Tickets and info at the box office or online.

Read these and other Fringe reviews in The Beer Tent Reviews, printed and distributed on the Fringe grounds and at participating venues. Check out @BeerTentReviews!

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