How often do you have a word with yourself? We’re all familiar with the concept of an inner voice, chipping in with sometimes decidedly unhelpful suggestions. But according to research, for at least 30 to 50% of people, that inner voice simply won’t shut up.
Such is the case for the young male protagonist in Double Act, running this week at London’s Lion & Unicorn Theatre.
Actor-turned-playwright Nick Hyde‘s first full-length play started off as a short monologue for a drama school project, but he realised that, by turning it into a two-hander, he could better explore his unnamed character’s inner turmoil on what he plans to be his last day on earth.
Nick wrote the part of the protagonist’s inner critic-cum-cheerleader (as well as multiple other acquaintances and strangers encountered) for his friend Oliver Maynard. And the rapport between the two actors both onstage and off is apparent, with both adept at mining the material for its pathos and poignancy as well as its laugh-out-loud observations and knockabout physical comedy.
I was delighted to chair last night’s post-show discussion with them and director/designer Jeff Hall-Flavin. Jeff has been instrumental in developing Double Act over the past three years – and has already demonstrated how malleable Nick’s script is, having adapted it into an ensemble piece for his students at Norwich University of the Arts.
Many of Jeff’s students along with staff from the production’s charity and mental health partners – Body and Soul, Trinity Homeless Projects and Mind – were in attendance for last night’s sold-out performance.
In addition to the artistic journey and themes around masculinity and mental health, topics in our wide-ranging discussion included the breadth of the McDonald’s menu, tamagotchis, gratitude journals, and the kindness of strangers.
Event photography by Darren Ross.
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) January 10, 2024