Two Ladies Review
At the last minute we were surprised with tickets to the last night of Two Ladies, with Zoé Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitešić. An enjoyable production for our second visit to the Bridge Theatre.
Following an attack by a protester on the American first lady, paint or blood having being thrown on her immaculate white outfit, she and the French first lady find themselves together in an ante room. Following an attack on US soil weeks before, their husbands discuss whether war is necessary and who will support it.
The ladies partake in small talk and are untrusting of each other but very quickly the conversation takes a personal turn as they reveal their secrets and feelings to an unexpected confidant.
The parallels between the current American and French first ladies are obvious, although they are Croatian and British respectively. The American first lady, an immigrant wife, paraded round by her husband as a trophy but uncaring in private, his politics demonises immigrants and gays. She feels used and unwanted and ultimately unprotected. The French first lady is a British journalist who in her 40’s left her husband and daughter to marry a French student in his 20’s. She feels like the driving force behind his political success having left it too late for herself to take on such a role.
Whether their husbands are the same as their real life counterparts is left for the audience to decide.
While the story is wrapped in politics it is a personal story of these women and the struggles they have been through to end up in their current position. It’s a telling setting that while their husbands are off discussing war they are effectively abandoned in side room, though they are constantly interrupted by unhelpful advisors.
The acting is superb with two incredibly talented women commanding the stage for the full 100 minutes. These are two well drawn out, complex and believable women with powerful stories to tell. They have distinct personalities and this is clear in the dialogue. Nicholas Hytner’s direction keeps the drama flowing which oozes from the excellently written script.
However, while the story is interesting there are elements of the plot which, while exciting, felt unrealistic, which makes it unlikely to stand up to repeated viewings. Having said that, it is definitely enjoyable and if it gets produced again with another excellent cast it would definitely be worth seeing. We give this three Laura Michelle-Kelly stars.