City Love

City Love provides an honest and hard-hitting look at relationships, starting with a chance encounter between two young London professionals on a night bus. Utilising a delicate combination of monologues, narrative and physicality, the two-person cast lead us through the emotional journey of their subsequent relationship.

City Love places a magnifying glass onto what constitutes a relationship and reminds us of the things we seldom notice.

The duo’s strong chemistry is undeniable, and their genuine affection for one another makes the whole thing particularly engaging. It also amplified the upset when things aren’t going the way that Hollywood has conditioned us to expect.

Simon Vinnicombe’s script is punchy and engaging, succeeding to connect with the audience on a personal level. Often the most common of themes – in this instance, love – are the hardest to explore and represent accurately. Themes like this are common because they affect us all, but affect us all in different ways – there is no shared experience. City Love did not exemplify the so-called chick-flick relationship. Instead it was gritty, spiteful and depressing when it needed to be. It was, for most of us at some point in our lives, the truth.

I particularly enjoyed watching the replay of certain key events – such as the couple’s first chance encounter on the night bus – through the lens both parties involved. Mimicking the physicality of what had happened but changing the narrator gave us an insight into each of their personalities and inner-most thoughts. When used appropriately it allowed us to venture into both sides of the story, learning how both parties are right and wrong simultaneously in the argument, although sometimes I thought this premise was overworked and I began to expect it at certain points of the play.

Both actors had their strengths, and complemented each other extremely effectively. In particular, Sam Blake’s accurate depiction of male angst was refreshing to observe. His self-depreciation was subtle and truthful, and as with the rest of the production it corrected the stereotypes of patriarchal confidence in romantic situations which we are constantly conditioned to believe in. Elizabeth Lloyd-Raynes was also a force to be reckoned with, especially during her delicate portrayal of the couple’s post-breakup reunion.

City Love places a magnifying glass onto what constitutes a relationship and reminds us of the things we seldom notice. Though a little obvious at times, the actors are tender through their illustrations of intimate snapshots, and remind us just what it means to be human.

Reviews by Matthew Sedman

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The Blurb

Illuminate Productions presents this fast-paced, painfully honest, rip-roaring comedy. The story of two city workers juggling rent and bills until a chance meeting on the Number 12 night bus transforms their mundane lives into an epic love story. Award-winning writer Simon Vinnicombe takes a funny and unflinching look at how trivial insecurities can send us crashing into self-destruction.

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