Review by Carly Fisher
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival has one of the highest standards of Independent Theatre around the world - yes, by the definition of what a fringe festival is, it is (and should be) a place to experiment with new concepts, trial new work, etc. However, being the largest and most prestigious international fringe festival, the calibre here is very high.
It is therefore all the more noticeable when a show does not quite achieve that sense of refinement in their production and sadly, I feel, that 2 Faces is a show that is just not quite there.
The storyline is solid and would make for an exciting episode of a cop TV show - 2 police officers double time as art robbers in the district that they protect. With no one else in the force knowing about this, they are generally called on to cover their cases. Definitely a cute idea for a cop comedy for the fringe, written by playwright/actor Jasmine Dorothy Haefner!
Though a two hander play, there are a number more characters within the story. The two performers jump from crime lords to police chiefs throughout, aided by small changes in costuming. Though a black out is used between every scene, a technique that is very much not my favourite, there is fun written dialogue projected onto a screen before us during these. Initially, these start strong as clever ways to guide us through quite a complex storyline of changing characters and jumping locations. Unfortunately, as the play progresses, the clarity and guidance on the screen turns into chatter and becomes distracting as it removes the audience consistently (every few minutes) from the scenes. As an audience member, I could feel both myself and those around me becoming increasingly lazy with trying to keep up with the story, positive that it was about to be told to us on the screen anyway.
The quick costume changes are a good concept but the selection of pieces to change into could use a bit of improvement - namely the wig used for the police chief which was a comical mess (though not particularly funny). Though a small detail, the show was cheapened substantially by poor costume and prop choices.
Hassan Hope plays against Haefner. The two slip between moments of great connection in some scenes, whilst others are burdened by a lack of chemistry. I felt that both actors could and likely are usually better than the performances they gave the day that I saw the show. I unfortunately felt the energy was quite flat throughout.
I think further development of each character - big or small - would be useful to being able to create really three dimensional characters as they jump through them all. Right now, most characters felt like an archetype and I believe that both actors have more in them that could be further extracted from Director Jesse Tendler.
Overall, I think that Haefner has great bones for her show and no doubt more that can be achieved with it. But as the production, and quality of it, currently stands, this isn’t my pick of the fringe.