THEATRE – Love/Sick at theSpace


[star rating =3/5]

JOHN Cariani’s eclectic series of short plays about love – in all its stages – are brought to life in Hyacinth Theatre’s latest production.

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Each vignette explores how love makes us do crazy things, including taking up elaborate food metaphors or sending singing telegrams. There are seven scenarios in all and the total running time is just under an hour.

The structure is reminiscent of the 1990s trend for ‘deconstructed’ theatre; think Jeffrey without the game show sequences or Patrick Stewart in a pink beret.

This quirkiness lends the show a charming nostalgic quality which works well with the overall theme of the show.

The focus isn’t simply on love and mobile phones or love and mental health, although it does touch on these things, but on how people relate to one another and how those relationships change and grow with time.

The cast of four from Oxford University’s Hyacinth Theatre easily manage to embody the fourteen roles required by the show. Whether the story being told involves a couple coming together or falling apart then each scenario is entirely believable no matter how absurd.

The believability of the characters is especially impressive given the minimal use of costumes, sets or props. A few shopping baskets, some toilet paper or a white fascinator are all it takes to illustrate the change of setting.

That said, the staging could have used some improvement. The venue at theSpace on the Mile has no raised seating and so any audience members sitting behind the first row will find themselves craning to see any of the action which takes place when actors are either sitting or laying on the floor.

However, makeshift performance spaces are one of the hallmarks of the Festival Fringe experience and come with the territory.

The pace also felt a little sluggish at times although this could have been because the performance was at 10am on a Tuesday morning.

Despite this, the shows humour was well-timed and there were many laugh-out-loud moments.

Overall, Love/Sick is a thoughtful, feel-good series of stories which anyone, whether they are single, married, consciously-uncoupled, divorced or anywhere in-between can relate to.

If you are looking for a mellow way to spend an August morning then Love/Sick is all you need.