Rather than being one play, Lovers is two one-act performances – Winners and Losers. The initial, Winners, tells the story of two youngsters preparing for school exams and for getting married. Second play Losers sees an older couple, one of whom still lives with her mother, getting to grips with their relationship.
Both plays are well acted, with perhaps Hannah Brockley’s performance as Mag in Winners being the highlight of the night, as she does a great job of capturing the free-spirited young girl, while Stephen Giles and Sarah Mather work well as the supporting characters in Winners and main characters in Losers. However, Winners is a rather difficult piece to watch – it’s obvious from fairly early on what will happen to the young lovers, with Giles and Mather’s running commentary making it clear that nothing good has happened to the pair. It feels almost voyeuristic to be watching this, and while it’s undeniably powerful, it’s not an experience I’d particularly want to repeat, if I’m honest. This sentiment seemed to be shared by the people who attended with me, although others may be made of sterner stuff and get more from it than we did.
Losers, on the other hand, is a more uplifting affair – although it’s hardly laugh-a-minute itself. The undoubted best part is Giles frantically reciting Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard to cover up the sounds he and Mather are making as they try and snatch a brief moment of bliss before they’re inevitably interrupted by her bedridden mother’s summons. Other parts are more hit and miss, but it’s worth watching and is a definite step up from the previous act.
Lovers concludes on Saturday 1st June. Tickets can be booked online or by phoning 01978 351 091 from 12 to 2pm or 7 to 7:30 pm Friday, or 10:30 am – 12:30 pm or 7 – 7:30 pm Saturday.