Christine Horne and Susan Coyne in Between The Sheets.
The best two-hander plays seize our imaginations because what matters goes beyond what happens onstage. They make some kind of universal comment - Albee's The Zoo Story, for example - or, like Mamet's Oleanna, spark a conversation about something important.
Walk away from Jordi Mand's Between The Sheets and this story of the deep conflict between teacher Teresa (Christine Horne) and Marion (Susan Coyne), the mother of one of her students, just does not stay with you.
It has a great rhythm, working in three movements like a symphony, and no sooner do you think you have a grip on what's happening than Mand adds another plot point to up the ante.
And the acting is terrific. As a woman who may have lost her moral compass, Horne is superb, swinging from jittery to angry to strangely compassionate. Coyne prowls the stage like a lion, fiercely determined to protect her family, and is totally riveting even if there isn't a ton of texture to the -performance. The moment she walks onstage, she exudes malevolence. -Director Kelly Thornton might have pushed for a subtler approach to deepen the tension more gradually.
See the play to watch two actors in magnificent form. But it does lack heft, failing to get past its central conflict to actually say anything that matters. And it's hard to buy the basic premise. Without giving too much away, let's just say you'll watch this 60-minute conversation thinking what Teresa keeps saying to Marion's virago of a mother: Talk to you husband.