Both lovely and devastating in equal measure, City Love by Illuminate Theatre Company documents a romance that lives and dies in the bustle of London town. After a humorous exchange on a night bus, a couple’s relationship blossoms as they find themselves transformed by each other’s company. However, their happiness is crushed by the pressures and benchmarks of ‘success’ which loom ominously over them. Simon Vinnicombe’s play is sure to move those familiar with the London grind and those who’ve never experienced it.
Both actors hold captivating eye-contact throughout, whether sharing a joke or pleading for sympathy.
Performers Lizzie Lloyd-Raynes and Sam Blake have created two people who I whole-heartedly felt for. Their love story is full of warmth with a humorous nod towards the typical insecurities we all suffer in the modern dating world. Just how long should you leave before replying to a text? However, for one character, these insecurities swell to something more dangerous and all-consuming. The couple’s most intimate moments are undercut with sudden flashbacks to the terrible end of their relationship, which invoke a powerful sense of dread into the performance. We watched the pair at their happiest as we sat tensely waiting for it all to go horribly wrong.
The intimate space of C Cubed is absolutely embraced by the production through staging and performance. Both actors hold captivating eye-contact throughout, whether sharing a joke or pleading for sympathy. The numerous audience exchanges are fun and the people involved are very much laughed with rather than laughed at. Theatre-goers who enjoy participating in the action should definitely sit at the front. The set was simplistic yet effective, slotting nicely into the small stage space without seeming to need more room.
This exciting performance leaves the audience with painful questions as to what extent the ‘big city mindset’ has guided the downfall of a relationship. With joyous highs and tragic lows, it feels like a journey.