Two's Company review: When Mystic Meg Meets Absolutely Fabulous
**** 4 STARS
A mother and daughter duo always makes for interesting content but when a hopeless romantic, twice divorced, 55 year old moves home to be with her equally rose tinted mother in Ayrshire, the two get up to mischief as they look about starting a matchmaking service to put use to their broken hearts. I am a big fan of late 90s British sitcom TV series such as The Royle Family (1998, Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash, Henry Normal) and Dinnerladies (1998, Victoria Wood) and Two's Company (written by Gillian Duffy) follows in the same vein.
A charming three hander play set primarily in the living room, Maureen (played by Carolyn Calder) is hoping to heal and ultimately find love by way of creating ‘Two’s Company’ Matchmaking Agency, a new Dating Service for those who prefer ‘a more traditional approach’ to finding love – aka the local old-school lonely-hearts who think Broadband is a new pop group and mobile dating means holding hands on a stairlift. But Maureen's mother (played by Una Ailsa Macnab) is intent on acting as a matchmaker herself. The two together would give Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha in Absolutely Fabulous (1992, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders) a run for their money. Macnab and Calder together are absolutely hilarious, the duo works incredibly well. I have yet to experience marriage or divorce but even I related with Calder's character of feeling the urge to take your romantic disasters into your own hands but still coming across losers after losers! Sadly, the fear of loneliness is a universal feeling that can swipe us at any point in our life, the dynamic duo capture the feeling whilst adding a lighthearted comedic spin to it.
Duffy is a superb writer, her quippy one liners (special shout out to "Millionaire Matchmaker more like Living Wage Matchmaker!") and ferociously funny script are both simultaneously ludicrous and whimsical. Until now, I have been unfamiliar with Duffy's work however I am excited to see what she produces in the future. Directed by David Goodall, I think the stage directions would benefit from just being more finely tuned, I loved the set design and they had a brilliant space. But I got confused with the different changes in location. It would be great to see what would happen if the action happened solely in the living room and the external action was perhaps left to the audience's imagination.
Overall, I absolutely adored this play. Duffy is a writer to watch and I would pay to see a TV show of Two's Company!
Maureen - Carolyn Calder
Mother - Una Ailsa Macnab
Michael - Matt Costello:
Writer and Producer - Gillian Duffy
Director - David Goodall