Two Days From Now

Wed 22nd February 2012

reviews

Amy Peters

at 09:35 on 23rd Feb 2012

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0disagrees

Coupling genuinely laugh-out-loud ‘banter’ and moments of real poignancy, Two Days From Now manages to convey what is essentially a science fiction story of time travel into something much more human, raising truly difficult questions about friendship, fate, and the risks of ‘playing God’ along the way.

The story centres around two main scenes: a hospital ward, where an unnamed patient lies comatose, (respect to the unnamed actor who managed to stay motionless for the entirety of the play!) and a standard uni-lad flat, with old pizza boxes and empty vodka bottles ensuring the audience most definitely feels at home. Craig, a History student suffering from a self-proclaimed ‘existential crisis’ after discovering a method of time travel in his broom cupboard (cue hoover-related banter) must decide whether to exploit his discovery for personal gain, make it public or, probably more sensibly, not to meddle in the natural order of time at all.

Many resourceful cues, such as lighting, sound effects and the actors’ clothing successfully delineated the different scenes, and allowed the audience to follow the chronology of what is an unavoidably hard concept to grasp. Dominic Everett Riley’s impressive script also aided in this. His complete comprehension of 21st century university life and the actors’ relaxed portrayal of this made it easy for the audience to believe they were sitting in any living room in the viaduct. Joe Burke as Craig was standout in this play; not only due to his ability to flit effortlessly between such contrasting scenes on the stage, but also for his commanding presence in all of the many soliloquies. Karim Mariey also deserves a mention for getting by far the most laughs in the house, a feat that can be put down to both Everett Riley’s brilliant script and Mariey’s dripping sarcasm in equal measure.

The only criticisms necessary of mention were some sound issues towards the start, which were a shame as every word of this truly intriguing story both deserves and needs to be heard in order for the audience to successfully follow the plot. Other than this, and some perhaps slightly nervous cast members equating to a weakened performance, this show was worth a watch, due mostly to a brilliantly clever and intricate plot based around a scene to which we can all relate. If you like plays that are ‘banterous’, deliciously philosophical and that make you think, then Dominic Everett Riley is one to look out for.

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Izzy Stones

at 09:39 on 23rd Feb 2012

2agrees

0disagrees

Two Days From Now was a witty yet thought-provoking piece, which gave what I believe was a rather accurate depiction of what the reaction of four uni students might be on discovering that their broom cupboard is actually a split in the space-time continuum and can be used as a means of time travel.

As with all time travel stories the play was, at times, difficult to follow. I, along with the main character, was never entirely sure what day it was. Nevertheless, I had just about got my head wrapped around it by the end. The confusion of the audience over the plot, combined with the suspense of finding out how a coma patient (who was constantly present on the stage) fitted into the storyline, did, however, really work to the play’s advantage, as I was genuinely shocked upon finding out the final twist. I think Director Dominic Everett Riley and Producer Ben Weaver-Hincks really did do a good job in ensuring that the storyline was conveyed well, and thus the play’s overall message really did shine through.

The plot dealt with the usual considerations regarding time travel, such as using knowledge gained in the future to win the lottery etc., but it also dealt with the darker side of being able to see into the future. The play caused me to really consider whether you should attempt to change the future or whether the butterfly effect would ensure that there were even greater consequences to your actions. Despite this rather serious message, the play was overall very light-hearted and, ignoring the reality of time travel, it really did seem like we were looking into a regular student house, complete with banter, ‘laddish’ behaviour and empty pizza boxes that did not move for the entirety of the play. Comedy was integrated incredibly well into this production, and the audience was constantly laughing at just how accurate a representation the interaction between the characters was of uni life. The smattering of comedy even in more serious parts of the play worked well to contrast the light-hearted with the serious, such as the re-appearance of Stubbsy and the tennis ball just after Chris has found out that he was in a car accident (mind-boggling, I know). The jokes used in the play were all very relevant to the majority-student audience, and I especially enjoyed the subject-specific jokes, for example Chris’s tendency to talk about particle physics and Schrödinger's cat when drunk. The comedy interacted very well with the props, with the square plates providing a long-running joke throughout the play. Whilst the use of the Xbox did again contribute to the comedy and the setting of the piece, I did feel that the sound clip was a little too loud for the audience to hear all of the dialogue. As you can probably tell, however, I did find the play highly amusing, and the comedy really did have an Inbetweeners feel to it.

The play was well-acted overall: all the cast was really believable as uni students, (although I’m assuming that they are actually all uni students!), but when all the drama started kicking off, the cast was able to really show the range of their abilities, with Joe Burke as Craig especially shining. I also want to commend the coma patient on their ability to stay still for such a long period of time! The cast all worked well as an ensemble, which was vital in making the friendship and jokey atmosphere seem believable.

Overall, this is a play I would highly recommend and I wish I could see it again. It was such an enjoyable experience and I am hoping to attend more of Durham Drama Festival in the hope that the rest of it will be as well-produced, well acted and simply, equally as entertaining.

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Comments

Dom Riley; 24th Feb 2012; 18:17:35

Just as you've both mentioned him, the uncredited coma patient was Ben Weaver-Hincks (the producer).

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