Sunday, 22 September 2019

Double bill offers a study in contrasts

Double bill offers a study in contrasts

Progress Premieres: Equivocators and Peter’s Wife | Progress Theatre, Reading | Tuesday, April 30

THIS double bill, offering a platform for new writing, gives the audience two fresh but very different plays.

Equivocators by Dan Clarke is an erudite two-hander probing into the friendship and rivalry between Shakespeare and Ben Jonson against the backdrop of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

In an extended dialogue, sceptical Ben (Alex McCubbin) challenges a steely Will (Christopher Dangerfield) to account for his beliefs, loyalties, practices and family history.

McCubbin and Dangerfield are polished and well matched antagonists, while director Kate Shaw’s set concept convincingly takes us back to Jacobean England and there is plenty of caustic humour amongst the literary sparring.

In contrast, Peter’s Wife by Chris Moran is a contemporary exploration of character, family and the impact of critical moments in any person’s life.

From an admirably strong cast of six, Louise Charles takes the foreground superbly as Peter’s wife, the narrator of a believable and engaging tale of intertwined relationships and the complexities that arise from them.

Aidan Moran’s direction has the cast moving fluidly across a spare set, made special by Trevor Dale’s lighting design. Peter’s Wife is great writing, brilliantly staged. Bravo!

Until Saturday (May 4).

Susan Creed

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