There are plays which leave their meaning open to interpretation, there are plays which stealthily declare their intent in a series of well-placed clues, and then there is The Speed Twins.
No sooner has a question arisen in your mind (“Might this be some kind of queer gateway to the afterlife?”), it is answered, openly and definitively. “You’re in Dyke Heaven, darling!” cries butch bartender Ollie as she welcomes twitchy, self-denying Queenie to a dilapidated supernatural version of London’s covert Gateways Club, exposed in the film The Killing of Sister George. Gateways. Geddit?
In fact, the Gateways is also a crossroads, a chance for Queenie to continue her fervent campaign of refutation or to embrace a second chance at life and love with old flame Shirley. In case we should be in any way unclear about which is the correct choice, prayer provokes mini natural disasters and the gradual acceptance of her true self is rewarded with champagne.
Anyone familiar with Maureen Chadwick‘s past projects (Bad Girls, Footballers‘ Wives) will know she has a strong aversion to both subtlety and subtext, yet there is something undeniably captivating about the bold, brash colours of her work as she swings wildly from operatic emotions and soap-opera clichés – yes, there are drinks thrown in people’s faces – to deliciously catty one-liners and big belly laughs. The farcical touches give The Speed Twins a raucous energy and are juxtaposed well with the more sombre beats.