Rachel and Zoe sees two best friends at the end of their ropes when it comes to their relationships with men, have it all out while they try to figure out what they really want and how to get it.
Should you see it?
Rachel and Zoe is the story off two friends at the ends of their ropes when it comes to relationships with men. Zoe is put by off a lack of romance in her casual flings — as she says, Don Juan is dead — while Rachel is in a 4-year relationship that has been leaving her anything but fulfilled and happy.
This is a slice of life drama. There’s no driving plot, just two close, life long friends talking earnestly about their relationships and trying to figure out what will make them happy. It’s certainly an important moment in their lives, as its obvious what’s driven them to this point and why now, but it’s not a “this happens, then this happens, then this happens” plot-driven narrative.
Jodi Morden and Hannah Gibson Fraser, playing Rachel and Zoe respectively, give us some of the strongest acting I’ve seen at the festival so far this year. Both pass through a wide range of emotion during the show, from frustration and umbrage, to embarrassment, to disappointment and yearning, to dance party (yes, dance party is an emotion) while they try to figure out what they want. That emotion, and the bond that these two friends have, never ceases to feel anything but completely real.
In fact, real, is the best way to describe Rachel and Zoe. Between the performance and the writing and the willingness of both actresses to commit, the show feels real.
Chris Wyllie plays the men in both women’s lives in a very ingenious bit of staging that allows us both to witness the events being talked about while at the same time fully understanding that this is still just two women talking about it. His entrances and exits are almost amorphous.
The ending to Rachel and Zoe is the one moment where the bubble is broken and it’s no longer Rachel and Zoe as Rachel and the Man, but while that break is unfortunate, it’s a powerful scene and one that gives Wyllie the chance to show that he can act on par with Morden and Fraser. It’s also a superb example of how much can be portrayed in pauses, considerations, and uncomfortable silences.
In an open, unjuried festival of 59 shows, you’re never guaranteed quality performances, committed performers, or professional feeling shows, but Rachel and Zoe is one that delivers.
What did you think? Was Rachel and Zoe’s girls’ night in a believable and relateable look at relationships? Join the discussion in the comments below.