Two’s a crowd!

Nick Downes and Patric Howe star in The Bench.

Nick Downes and Patric Howe star in The Bench.

Lin Warner during rehearsals as Mother in After Magritte. Picture by Russell Blitz

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Next week Rosie’s Vineyard in Elm Grove plays host to a hilarious new translation of Gérald Sibleyras’ comedy The Bench, presented by Rope’s End theatre company.

The Bench tells the story of two musicians, Vladimir and Paul, who play ‘four handed piano’; two players one piano and one bench. The pair have recently won a prestigious award and have been given a chalet complete with housekeeper, Trüdi, on the Austro-Italian border to rehearse for a high-profile tour of Japan. However things do not go according to plan and soon the cracks in the pair’s working relationship start to show...

This is the second visit to the initimate Southsea setting of Rosie’s for Rope’s End who performed another of Sibleyras’ works, Heroes, three years ago.

‘The major plus point of Rosie’s is the fact that it’s small and intimate,’ says Nick Downes who plays Paul.’It feels like the audience are very much there and almost part of the play’s world.’

Before the group began work on Bank Nick, along with co-star Patric Howe and director Steve Blackham, first had to translate the original French script (Le Banc) as no published English version of the play existed.

‘We’ve all got a certain amount of French,’ says Nick. ‘I graduated in French and German so I was able to do a lot of translation but it was very much a team effort. It was a very long process but quite enjoyable and interesting in its way. You have to work out what Gerald really meant and then try to put that into natural English. If it doesn’t sit well in your head it’s difficult to come out with it and sound convincing.

‘French plays are often a bit more adventurous and less tied down to realism - there’s a bit more flare and adventure.

‘Gerald’s work is very funny and very character driven. It creates characters that work as individuals and also work well with each other. This play is about the relationship between these two musicians which is a working relationship that is complicated by their personalities and temperaments.’

The Bench will be performed at Rosie’s Vineyard from Monday to Wednesday at 8pm. Tickets: £10, concessions £8. Call 07717 132 392 or email ndownes2401@gmail.com.

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