Review: Two Man Show

Dir. RashDash (Abbi Greenland, Helen Goalen & Becky Wilkie), Tron Theatre, 28-29 Sept 2017 – Article first published in Issue 133.

Goosebumps. Two Man Show started with a goosebumps-inducing choir performance by the incredibly talented Abbi Greenland and Helen Goalen from RashDash. Followed, just minutes apart, by a giggles-inducing satire on history – a history of patriarchy, to be more precise. Then came more singing, dancing, satire, laughter again, some tears… After watching this praised feminist play, I left Tron in complete awe.

Let’s go back to the drama part for a second. Two Man Show essentially depicts two brothers, Dan and John, holding dialogues about their dying father. Greenland and Goalen successfully portray the stereotypical macho image of the two brothers in an entertaining manner almost to the point of satire. Once they discover the death of their father, the audience soon discovers their utter failure at communicating with each other. Words seem to suffice just as little as the pathetic (but hilarious) comforting gesture in the form of rapid shoulder taps.

Thus dancing takes the role normally given to speaking. The naked bodies twist together: lifting, dragging and pushing each other seems to establish a more meaningful emotional exchange than anything else. I was almost in tears at one point, deeply affected by their very human struggle. Then, at the end, the play breaks the 4th wall; Greenland and Goalen, playing themselves, have a ranting dialogue espousing different standpoints on feminism. It serves as a last reminder on the complexity of the issues at hand and how communication sometimes seems dysfunctional.

“I thought I can use words to show you who I am how silly of me” are the lyrics of the melancholic song with which the play finishes. Greenland and Goalen demonstrate to the audience our society’s flaw in establishing a space in which masculinity can express itself in words. Hence the dancing and the singing. Two Man Show left me in awe but wanting for more: more nuanced character development of the two brothers; more refined treatment of the ranting monologue close to the end; an especially, more time to enjoy the experience.

But wow. What a show. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that leaves an impression hard to erase.

[Nini Huang]


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