Two grotesque old ladies bicker in a small gypsy-esque living room. Eyes roll and teeth gnash as they rasp their way through their day. One is a dreamer and the other a doer, one a skinny hunchback and the other comically rotund, but for all their differences they are inherently tied together; being the only thing the other one has left. Their monotonous life is full of washing and futile attempts to go outside, indeed anything to fill the gaps in the hours, minutes and seconds of each interminable day.
With the heavy ghost of Waiting For Godot hanging over its head, Mascha & Vascha does at times pay a successful homage to Beckett’s masterpiece, with a couple of beautifully existential lines but these are too few and far between. More often than not this surreal dialogue appears forced in a piece which seems to be trying too hard.
Hannah Pyliotis and Lily Sykes are undoubtedly talented performers, creating intensely physical individual caricatures that are punctuated with imaginative ‘gestus’, within a sweet and present friendship that is a delight to watch. However too often they push their random symbolism too far; at times being uncomfortably over the top and at others too naively ready for a ‘trick’ so that they are never fully convincing clowns.
This is a first time piece of work which starts in all the right places, but somewhere along the journey loses focus and sadly ends up in all the wrong ones. But it is also a young company who may have faltered in this show, but are sure to find their feet in future ones. Onwards and upwards.
Mascha & Vascha runs at The Camden People’s Theatre until Friday 21 August at 7.45pm