REVIEW: DOUBLE ACT (Polka Theatre) ★★★★

Vicky Ireland’s charming adaption of Jacquline Wilson’s Double Act lights up the stage at the Polka Theatre once more as the popular children’s book is brought to life.

Double Act follows the various adventures of identical twins Ruby and Garnet as they deal with the death of their mother, their ageing gran (Erika Poole) moving into sheltered accommodation and their own move to the country after their dad (Phil Yarrow) brings home his new girlfriend, Rose. Ireland approaches these delicate issues in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner, perfectly representing the twins’ identity crisis in the face of their rapidly changing life.

The cast was led by Ruby Ablett as the boisterous Ruby with showbiz ambitions and Lydia Orange as the charming but quiet Garnet. Ablett managed to remain likeable while grappling with being overshadowed by her sister after a lifetime of being the centre of attention while Orange was thoughtful and engaging throughout. The pair were at their strongest when they directly addressed the audience to tell their story. These playful and often humorous interactions helped to keep the audience of young children captivated.

Davina Moon as Rose, despite being the catalyst for turmoil in Ruby and Garnet’s life, charmed the audience with a sweet portrayal of Dad’s new girlfriend. Moon was fantastic at representing the struggle to integrate herself into the family and gain the acceptance of the twins.

A special mention should also be given to Jospeh Rowe who convincingly played multiple roles within the show and helped the small cast carry the story with his effortless versatility.

With a good mix of silliness and darker moments, Double Act succeeds in navigating some difficult issues, providing the perfect show for nostalgic fans of Jacquline Wilson and children alike.

Reviewed by Benjamin McDonald
Photo: The Other Richard

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