The Courtyard has a long history of producing brilliant young thespians and supporting the talent of local youngsters, and as the arts centre moves into its

All is not as it seems for landlords Matt Jones and Izzy Harrison

twentieth year the quality of the work coming out of the current youth theatre companies is truly staggering.

Picture the scene – your local pub, full of the usual drinkers…husbands and wives, friends having a swift half on the way home from work, the local “lads” out on yet another stag night, the lonely old guy that mutters away into his pint of bitter. Now think of each one as a situation, an individual story, a human emotion.

Mental health is shown in a positive light by Zara Evans and Calum Broomfield (and more than a little bit of Elvis)

Jim Cartwright’s 1989 duologue “TWO” is brought to life through Ellen Dorsett’s imaginative direction and some fantastic performances from the Courtyard Senior Youth Theatre. Originally written for just two actors; the 18 strong cast make it into a natural ensemble piece, effortlessly moving from story to story and from light to dark in the time it takes to pour a double vodka.

Heidi Fassam plays a very convincing ageing carer for her husband Lucas Harris

It’s hard to believe that these young people are barely edging into adulthood as they dive into the serious, and sometimes harrowing, themes of the story. Share the endless work of the wife who takes care of her frail husband day in and day out, fantasizing about leaving it all behind but knowing she is tethered by love as much as duty. Feel the frustration of the couple trapped in neverending battle as they struggle to hold it all together for the sake of appearances. Laugh along with the “lads” as they enjoy another mad night out down the pub and encounter the fallout of their behaviour among the other patrons.

Lisa Taberner loves big strong men and poor, nervous Fletcher Garrard just needs someone to stand up for him.

It’s as much about the physical theatre as the dialogue, and the performers really show off their skills in this area too. From the very beginning the stories begin to unfold in pieces of emotive choreography between the characters, dropping little hints about their personalities, passions and personal battles. Director Ellen says “Using physical theatre encourages the group to work creatively and collaboratively, and instils a sense of trust between the performers”. This really shows in the relationships built on stage between the characters throughout the piece, and the physical elements bring deeper feeling that no words would be able to describe.

Henry Barnett and Molly Heathcote explore the theme of domestic abuse.

“TWO” continues its run at The Courtyard until Saturday 21st July, and is an absolute must-see for seasoned theatre-goers, novices and people watchers alike.
If you’ve ever sat in the pub and just watched and wondered, this piece is definitely for you.

Tickets are available from The Courtyard’s website or at the Box Office on 01432 340 555 priced at just £12.00.