Two men in an untidy room talk in short ambiguous sentences – it could be the work of playwright Harold Pinter but without the menace. When a third party (female) enters the scene the stage is set for sibling rivalry and the winner will determine future events.
And so begins Love, Love, Love. The Beatles may have sung All You Need Is Love (partly right) but poet Philip Larkin wrote ‘They f**k you up, your mum and dad’ (dead right) and Mike Bartlett’s play continues to prove the point over a period of nearly five decades with some style and wit.
The writer and James Grieve, the director, certainly know how to create impact at the opening of each scene and together manage to keep the momentum going in an explosion of heated discussion, witty one liners and a volley of talk but little communication with each other.
Bartlett asks a lot of his cast as he spreads the action over a period of 44 years. Ben Addis is most successful at creating three ages of man and Rosie Wyatt as his daughter captures all the angst of a teenager on the worst night of her life and her growth into an angry young woman has truth. Lisa Jackson’s Sandra matures very gracefully; her character changing little just becoming more of a monster of self-centredness. Simon Darwen and James Barrett provide able support to complete this energetic and committed cast.
Perhaps the play could be funnier and appeal more to our emotions but there is no denying that it provides an exhilarating ride. It will keep you talking long after curtain down about the rights and wrongs of the characters and who is to blame. And not many plays do that!
Go and enjoy and decide who got it right The Beatles or Larkin?