Pauline, the landlady of Oldham’s Hare & Hounds has a hard but lovely life working at her pub. She is surrounded by crazy friends and regulars, as well as a plethora of disappointing lovers. Her best friend Peter keeps her going strong on her quest for love. Along the way we see her bumps and upsets, taking her from Manchester city centre to Brazil’s Copacabana. A one-woman show fronted by the lovely Jo Dakin, Brit Theatre Ltd are happy to bring this homely tale all the way from it’s native Manchester to the Brockley Jack Studio.
The most impressive part of this small scale production is the scenography by Dave Benson. With a backdrop of a projection screen, the stage is impressively transformed with life-like props and scenery. From Manchester to Brazil, every scene is given a realistic backdrop, giving the audience the chance to envisage Pauline’s story as thoroughly as possible.
Pauline herself is a spunky character, a friend we all know and love well. She is the one in the friendship group who tells you unbelievable stories and gets into crazy mishaps, all whilst being an innocent bystander. Of course the best part of her stories is the way she tells these stories, with impersonations and reliving the scene for you count by count.
Director Jeffrey Longmore has pulled out all the stops for comic effect, the build up around Peter is ineffable. While Dakin has layers of emotion and energy coming out of her, she shows us something from the heart. She is deliberate and keeps a strong pace through out the show, however unfortunately her rhythm can at times become monotonous and thus disengaging. Overall it is no mean feat to create a show by yourself, and I believe she could have done so without any help from costume or props; her storytelling is second to none.
Writers and creators David Allen, Jonathan Clay and Mandy Hester have created a warm if straightforward tale of romance. We are greeted and charmed by her, as well as often feeling sorry for her. The tale is small-town enchanting and ends happily, like Oldham’s Bridget Jones, Pauline is sparkling whilst falling from mishap to downturn until she finds her happy ending. The piece can be slightly foreboding at points, telling instead of showing the action to us. For example Pauline says “I’m so excited,” which we already know by her delivery, so perhaps some of the writing could be directed more towards live theatre and movement. Nevertheless, an engaging night of theatre, with a stellar effort from all the team involved.
Two Little Dickie Birds is played at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre until 30 of July. For more information see the Brockley Jack website.