A co-production with Vertical Line and Greenwich theatre, Take Two Every Four Hours is a work in progress by Henry Regan and Ross Stanley.

Set in a hospital room, it makes good use of the staging, providing an intimate environment for the audience to share the story. A young man lies asleep in bed until the return of his sick roommate who disturbs the peace with an exuberance that belies his illness. The two lads have become friends in a world where their families cannot cope with their condition. The talk between the men shows a friendship evolved from a common denominator and we see a gentle ribbing and rivalry of the two as if they were in normal health. The characters are affable and supportive of each other. Whilst it seems that the outspoken James is a man of the world, we learn that in fact he has experienced little of life’s pleasures and about his fears in facing life outside of the hospital, without his friend by his side.

The actors perhaps had some nerves, but they should trust in their performance to really do justice to the dialogue. Whilst capable in their roles it felt lacking in truth and emotion at times making it hard to believe the stories being told. It is always difficult to maintain a level of energy whilst having to lie down and at times, it drops the pace and rhythm of the play.

The script has some strong one-liners, as well as some interesting observations and captivates well enough. It is well written for the most part, but could do with some tweaks here and there to make more sense of the illnesses the young lads are suffering from. It is not evident what these illnesses are and perhaps this needs addressing as it is unclear what each character is in the hospital for and indeed why or how they are in the same room together. A greater depth of emotion would help support the arc of James’ character towards a more punctuated and stronger ending.

Worth seeing for it’s writing and the emerging talent of the actors, a few tweaks will give this play what it needs to get a full bill of health.

Reviews by Greg Smith

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The Blurb

Two young friends are bed bound in a private hospital ward. James, terminally ill with leukaemia, knows he will never leave his bed. He also knows that his best placebo is Freddy, who has undergone intensive heart surgery. They don’t lead normal lives but that doesn’t mean they aren’t normal. On a seemingly quiet hospital afternoon events are set to unfold that will change their lives forever…

By turns heart warming and heart wrenching, this acclaimed play about youth, friendship and bed baths comes to the Henley Fringe before an eagerly anticipated return to the Edinburgh Festival.

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