Review: The Twins
By Tabitha Lean
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mindshare is a creative community and online mental health publication. Reflections are by mindshare writers with lived experience of mental illness, specifically critiquing through a mental health lens. Content may contain triggering themes.
I love Shakespeare. One of my most treasured possessions is a gilded book of his complete works that my kids gifted me one Christmas. What often draws me to Shakespeare’s work is the way he bends genres. The way he mixes tragedy and comedy, giving me the experience of both storytelling and theatre. The Twins uses this exact blend to bring us the most raw, authentic, entertaining and inspiring theatre I have seen in a very long time.
The simple stage of The Twins is cast with a few chairs, a table, a box, and two men. Dialogue is interspersed with snippets of music, pulled together with dramatic and well cued lighting. Darling and Fleet, both old mates, come together in this piece to ostensibly rework the Shakespeare play, The Comedy of Errors, which they co-starred in at school more than four decades before. With seamless ease and spectacular simplicity, they bend time onto a straight line, and journey us back and forth along the whole triptych of time – musing about their past, explaining their present, and forecasting the future. Their dramatic dialogue explores life, doubt, trust, honesty, love, friendship, grief, addiction and identity.
I am most struck by the scripting – it is superb. It never misses a beat and explores complex themes with such casual mastery that I imagine I am a fly on the wall of their lounge room. At times, the play’s content is so intimate, that I feel ashamed to be eavesdropping, but it is so compelling I can not turn away. Perhaps, the most excruciating, but illuminating moment for me, comes when they engage in their own soliloquy of thoughts about an encounter with each other many years post school: both trundling through the past reflecting on the envy they felt for each other’s position and shame for their own lot in life. I am captivated by the way they so perfectly portray that feeling of being seen but wishing to remain unseen, and the masks we all don in the hope that no one will see the real us.
The Twins is a masterpiece of brilliance: taking the heaviness of life and lifting it up into the light. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to talk about suicide, insecurities and addiction and make it comfortable and relatable and respectable, or even, entertaining – but this show did all of that. It took painful lived experience and cast them onto the stage in a way that drew people into an alternate world of Fleet and Darling’s making and allowed us to make our homes there to reflect: to confront our own privileges, contemplate our own diffidence and own our individual experiences. Both Darling and Fleet are spectacular, their energy and chemistry on stage is captivating and their performance kept me engaged right until the very end. I highly recommend this show – in my opinion it is a must see this Fringe.