Brighton FringeFeaturedReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: An Intervention: Sweet Old Steine: Steine Main

Reviewer: Simon Topping 

By: Juicy Lime Productions 

Writer: Mike Bartlett

Director: Ralf Higgins

From the award-winning writer Mike Bartlett comes a dark two-hander that looks at friendship in its many forms, and what begins to happen when you start to hate your best friend. 

Set over a period of some months we see actor’s A and B (we are not given names) bickering and falling out over various things but mainly about a war that A disagrees with and has marched against and that B is for, due to the conditions being worse if the country does not intervene.  

 A (played by Sally C Davis) is an extroverted, opinionated, working class teacher, who likes to drink a bit too much. B (Brad Glen) is introverted, middle class and intellectually superior. They are very different, but find they hit it off when they meet at a party and immediately start sparring, it is that constant debate that fuels their love, hate relationship. 

The friendship is tested further when B gets a girlfriend, Hannah. Hannah disapproves of A, thinking she is a bad influence and disruptive alcoholic. A thinks Hannah looks like an ant, and is a bitch.  It’s a funny simile, which makes the audience laugh. She also calls Hannah “the fun stasi” which gets another appreciative giggle. 

A and B  have several cutaway monologues from the main action to inform the audience more about how they see their relationship with the other and show a glimpse of their own feelings and character.   There’s an sad section where A recounts the suicide of an alcoholic boy in her school and a reveal from B that hints at the real reason he supports the war. 

As the play goes on we see that, on the face of it, A is a mess, her dependence on alcohol is depressing and pushes B away.  Although, underneath, B has chosen a relationship with Hannah that is superficial and unchallenging.  The friendship moves further apart and it becomes clearer to see that neither of them have really looked out for each other. It reminds the audience to call a neglected friend and reach out; don’t just be a fairweather companion. 

Both Davis and Glen work well off each other but the writing fails to shine. It’s difficult to watch as the play is on one note pretty much throughout; it is a bickering high tempo tone that makes one wonder how these two could be friends at all.  It’s not one of Barlett’s better plays but it is a solid performance. 

 

Reviewed on 6th June  

The Reviews Hub Score

Not Bartlett's Best

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