The Older Brothers' Almanac
- Marissa Burgess
- 23 August 2017
A well-observed two-hander reveals an occasionally dark relationship between siblings
This is a neat two-hander exploring the relationship between siblings, specifically that complicated dynamic between brothers. Older brother (17) comes to look after his younger brother (14) for a week while their parents are away on a 4th July holiday. Younger is obsessed with his video games and Dungeons and Dragons. Older is more into beer, partying and doing his girlfriend in a hotel room.
As the scenes from that July play out, they're punctuated with addresses to the audience as they quibble over points in The Older Brothers' Almanac: a list of rules and guidelines from how to give your little bro a dead leg or put him in a headlock, to chugging beer or having a private moment with a copy of Playboy. As Younger is schooled by Older in various lessons of manhood, Older's own relationship with their parents gradually presents itself.
This is a keenly observed study of siblings where bullying, albeit rooted in love, reveals a somewhat sadomasochistic relationship. The performances are spot on, Older's vulnerable machismo and Younger's naive curiosity make a stirring contrast. There is a slight feeling of wanting to know more by the denouement but then that's a testament to how much they've drawn you in.
C, until 28 Aug, 5.30pm, £10.50–£11.50 (£8.50–£9.50).