Duologues Competition

Mon 21st November 2011

reviews

Lucie Elven

at 01:09 on 22nd Nov 2011

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Can’t recommend this enough. 8 excellent duologues, whisperings and a prize.

To make a justified Just William comparison is all I ever want to do in a Cambridge playhouse, so duologue number one (James Parris and Max Upton in ‘Divinity’ from I, Claudius) was already a dream come true. Parris played Caesar as a camp Hubert-Laneite, delivering ‘By the age of only ten I’d already killed my father’ with corked gaiety to Upton’s Claudius, who sounded like the Bishop in ‘The Bishop’s Handkerchief’ (and – I suppose – like Claudius in I, Claudius).

Now I’ve done that I won’t go through all of the acts in detail as it was a one-night show, and I think I have bronchitis. Shakespeare was brought to life twice, lesbians got a voice in The Children’s Hour, Graham Greene was there, Frank O’Hara was there, my new obsession Mark Wartenberg was there (with Hannah Walker), purring along with the Black & Decker subtlety of Sarah Kane. These were all very accomplished performances, particulary Wnek and Biddle’s uncomplicated, a thoughtful take on Try Harder.

The highlight, not that there was much shading, was the winning duologue, an original composition by James Bloor and Paul Adeyefa called The Reunion of Sneaksby & Bunn. Pace, eyes on stalks and lines like ‘Sheaths of Columbian marching powder’, ‘Helen, the melon and her Canterbury felon’, and – I don’t think I made this up – ‘Fatwah for Lucie’(?) kept the audience in tidy paroxysms. It was without a doubt the most enjoyable and convincing new writing I've seen in Cambridge.

The range of pieces, the easy atmosphere, and the quality of its acting made the Duologues Competition impossible to disagree with. Next term again, please.

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