Benchmark Theatre Company are a touring Huddersfield based West Yorkshire Theatre group who typify the dedication and hard slog that is often the professional life of very committed actors and performers. Thanks to a local connection with Anne Larkin, the Wexford born actress, this fine company brought their impressive production of Two to Garter Lane. Last week this Jim Cartwright play uses two actors to play a pub landlord and his wife and all the other customers who frequent their pub.
It is a tour-de-force of physical and character acting and Paul Danby and Anne Larkin, explored every nuance of the strange and diverse customers. Like the old lady who still loves her shitty arsed and invalid husband or the flirting roving-eyed bloke who uses the put upon Maude until she rebels. There was the big butch woman who lusts after big men and hates her small mousy timid partner. Larkin shone here. Danby brought a chilling realism to the leather clad bully.
They both wowed the audience with the two poncho-clad cyclists with an Elvis fixation. The way Larkin licked crisps was a gem. Then the on and off bickering of the landlords turned nasty as the tragedy of a dead child came between them in all its stab of sadness and pain of pathos.
What was also so wonderful about this production was the ability of both actors to conjure up and make real all the characters we never actually saw but were as real as the dead child who wasn’t sitting on the bar.