REVIEW: Love, Love, Love

Jacob Haddad thought that Love, Love, Love was timely and thought-provoking, with real emotional punch

ADC Cambridge Comedy Corpus Playroom Drama Love Love Love student theatre Theatre

Love, Love, Love, at moments, achieves no less than being angry, brazen and tender all at the same time

Love, Love, Love is a turbulent love story, a family story and a story of generational conflict all in one. The play follows the lives of Sandra and Kenneth as they fall in love in the sixties, and grow up to have kids: Rose and Jamie.

(Photo Credit: Katurah Morrish)

(Photo Credit: Katurah Morrish)

The conflict between generation X and their parents is imagined as an embittered family drama, with only subtle signs that there is a bigger world where these tensions are played out on a national scale.

As the living room changes with each shift forwards in time, and a screen behind projects key national events through the eighties, nineties and noughties, domestic frustrations and malfunctions are put in relationship with the outside world in an incredibly subtle way.

The stand-out performance is Eleanor Mack as Sandra: volatile, messy, with a huge emotional range, conveying the tortured nuances of a character whose idealism is being continuously checked by reality. (Photo Credit: Katurah Morrish)

(Photo Credit: Katurah Morrish)

This comes from near-perfect chemistry among the cast, as well as playful and inventive staging from Katurah Morrish and Susannah Williams. The stand-out performance is Eleanor Mack as Sandra: volatile, messy, with a huge emotional range, conveying the tortured nuances of a character whose idealism is being continuously checked by reality. Ben Walsh as Kenneth is wonderfully understated, at times reminding me of Jim Broadbent in his wide-eyed expressiveness and charm.

Amy Malone as Rose and Joe Pieri as Jamie are equally magnetic to watch, a shining moment for Pieri being his dance intro to the 1980s scene (a reason to get yourself down to the ADC in itself).

Even so, the niggles and imperfections are soon forgotten; the play is brought to life in an imaginative and and hard-hitting way by cast and crew. (Photo Credit: Katurah Morrish)

(Photo Credit: Katurah Morrish)

My only problems weren’t with the cast or set design, but with some of the clunkier parts of the play itself. Rose’s final tirade against the evils of her parents’ generation seems to be edging into telling rather than showing, a balance which the rest of the play struck so well.

Bartlett seems to be voicing his own political diatribe here at the expense of the subtle exploring of family dynamics, which he up to this point allowed to speak for themselves. There was also something a little cliché about the final ‘still’ before lights up, with each character in their own world going their separate ways. In some way, credibility was lost. Even so, the niggles and imperfections are soon forgotten; the play is brought to life in an imaginative and hard-hitting way by cast and crew.

This is not to be missed, if only because it will make you think, but above all because it will make you want to laugh and cry as you are thrown into the life of this dysfunctional but very real family.

4/5 stars