Two Sisters – The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

Reviewer: Adrian Ross

Writer: David Greig

Director: Wils Wilson

The sisters of the title revisit the caravan park of their youth. It’s quickly established that Emma (Jess Hardwick) is the sensible one, a corporate lawyer seeking headspace for her creative writing.

Amy (Shauna Macdonald) is the gatecrashing wild one, needing a place to stay and some moral support after her husband has caught her cheating on him.

Into the mix comes Lance (Erik Olsson), the site caretaker and resident DJ who used to be Amy’s slightly exotic older teenage crush. Decades on, he’s still there.

The scene is set for some conflict and dalliances that play out entertainingly in a vibrant, tabloid style. There’s a strong chemistry between the three leads. Anyone familiar with Greig’s earlier plays, such as Outlying Islands, will notice a big difference in tone.

It’s actually gorgeously unencumbered writing, reminiscent of the unlearning that art students do in their foundation year. It’s raw, sparky and fun.

Some of the humour is crass, some is crude and some more considered, but all of it draws warm laughter. Writing light and shade into comedy and ensuring it surprises the audience is a rare knack, and David Greig has it.

Adding a huge amount to the proceedings is the ‘chorus’ of youthful performers who play the part of teenagers hanging around the caravan park, as Emma and Amy used to do.

In a fascinating twist, the older and younger characters call across the void to each other, interested in each other’s take on the world.

The chorus hangs together as a collective, at various points reading out reflections by audience members on their own youthful experiences.

However, there is also some effective character delineation that avoids lumping all young people together as this or that kind of person. Greig, director Wils Wilson and chorus co-ordinator Debi Pirie, along with the company itself, deserve great credit for making this work so well.

Lisbeth Burian’s set is superb and MJ McCarthy’s sound design also adds a great deal to a strong ensemble piece.

Runs until 2 March 2024 | Image: Jess Shurte

The Reviews Hub Score

Delightfully entertaining

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