Rita and Angie, septuagenarians, have been best friends for over 60 years. They have shared everything with one another, from the birth of Angie's son to her relationship issues with her husband Bill. Rita, played by Judith Paris in this fantastic solo performance, delivers an hour-long narrative covering marriage and love, puberty and babies, loss and despair.
The set is tiny. And bare, save for two chairs and a panel with an outdoor scene on it. Paris occupies the whole space as she speaks to Angie, signified by a bright red cardigan draped over a chair, beginning with childhood recollections and working her way to the present. The script is wistful and poignant, matched by a beautiful performance that puts life events into perspective: from fishing for boys and giggling as teenage girls to dealing with some of life's worst moments, these friends have been through thick and thin.
This production also tackles some weighty topics, including the pressures of being single by choice – acceptable for a man, but not for a woman, lopsided as so many 'rules' tend to be. 'What is there if a man does not want you?' Rita is asked by her mother, prompting the question of how much has really changed over the last fifty-odd years. The audience gets a sense of being a part of Rita and Angie's journey – and as part of the inner clique, Rita shares some startling facts with us.
While the stellar performance does paint a picture of an entire lifetime, the script is too predictable at times. The three big plot points in the 60-minute performance are disclosed at exactly 20-minute intervals, and I have to say I saw them coming. This doesn't take away from the professionalism of the delivery or the poignancy of the revelation itself, but it does mean that the 'shock' element of the script is diminished.
However, this is a moving solo show, which tackles issues that are commonplace now but unspoken-of half a century ago. It's a mature take on a simple fact of life… so if you can, go and watch the last performance at the Fringe. You will not regret it.