A Royal & Dergate, Nothampton and English Touring Theatre co-production
There’s a controversial new president in the White House, and racial tensions are on the rise.
It is Pittsburgh, 1969, and the regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant are struggling to cope with the turbulence of a rapidly changing world. The diner is in threat of being torn down, a casualty of the city’s renovation project that is sweeping away the buildings of a community, but not its spirit.
The iconic American playwright August Wilson paints a vivid portrait of everyday lives in this defining moment of American history. When Two Trains Running opened on Broadway in 1992, its legendary premiere won TONY and Drama Desk Awards. Directed by the 2018 winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, Nancy Medina, this major revival will introduce this Pulitzer Prize shortlisted modern classic to UK-wide audiences for the first time.
Supported by the Royal Theatrical Support Trust.
Our first reaction was 'great set'. An old run down American dinner with back windows on two sides so we could see who was arriving before they came through the restaurant door. A half broken roof not only so we could be inside but showing how neighbourhood buy-up and rebuild was very close. Amongst the rubble on the roof was a red door.
The characters were very clearly defined with accents so strong that sometimes I didn't understand what they said. My friend and I both agreed that the character with the educational disability was acted brilliantly.
However, amongst all the very heavy dialogue I never heard any mention of the new president and it's impact on these people, there was no reference to the red door. The black actors talked constantly about the white man's persecution of "niggers", a word they used so much it made me feel uncomfortable, which may have been the point.
Another odd thing is while the script often explains that the diner's jukebox has been left unrepaired for months, we frequently heard off-stage music and sound effects that serve no purpose except raise questions with the audience of 'Where is this coming from? What's it for?'
We were both exhausted and frustrated when it finally broke for the interval, exhausted by the long fusty half with the sheer volume and speed of dialogue, but frustrated because neither of us could work out what it was trying to put across or where it was going. My friend had decided to ring her Hubby (who had driven us there) to come and collect her, leaving at half time is something I hate doing so I was going to stay to the end and ring my Hubby for my lift home.......then we found out it was a three hour play and not finishing till nearly 11pm! Life is definitely too short to put myself through another hour and a half.
So we will never know where were the two trains and were they running or not?