Reviewed – 4th March 2018
“holds a mirror up to every woman in the audience and leaves them raucously laughing”
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. David Mitchell and Robert Webb. It’s no secret that two is the magic number when it comes to comedy and, after last night’s performance of ‘Split’ at the VAULT Festival, it strikes me that Emma Pritchard and Tamar Broadbent could well be next to join that list.
‘Split’ is a hilariously riotous cringeworthy comedy about two side-splittingly relatable young women. Ellie and Charlotte meet on the first day of Year 7. It must be fate. Well, either fate or the fact that their surnames both start with a J. As so many do, they click almost instantly, and over the course of the next hour we’re allowed the privilege of seeing them navigate their way through their youth. Scene after scene has the audience nudging the best friend who is sat beside them with whispers of “That’s you!” or “Do you remember when…?”. Blissfully ignorant to the realities of adulthood, the two best friends stumble through the traumas of boyfriends, bad decisions and the loss of Charlotte’s pet cat Bach. One of the most memorable things about the piece is its oh-so-classic soundtrack of boy band hits from the beginning of the millennium, along with a dance mat duet which conjured more focus and higher stakes than anything else.
However, ‘Split’ does more than make you reminisce fondly over Busted albums and smelly gel pens. It reminds you of the value and resilience of female friendships. It forces you to remember the people who raised you; the people who sat beside you in assembly and the people who snuck you out of dodgy house parties via the bedroom window. ‘Split’ holds a mirror up to every woman in the audience and leaves them raucously laughing at the nostalgic embarrassments of their early teenage years; but also smiling at how timeless the relationships from that part of your life can be.
Reviewed by Sydney Austin