Couples+Pairs

Each performance of Blue Heart Theatre’s relationship based plays features five short dramas where the company chooses the first three and the audience the last two. The four-piece cast’s capacity to perform any one of these plays from the pick of a hat is impressive, although the promised interactive audience participation is an anti climax: two audience members quietly rummage in the hat and choose the last two plays - if the choice is going to be part of the performance, let the whole audience be part of the process.

Couples and Pairs random assortment of ten plays is a lottery

Unless you’re going to see Couples and Pairs twice, there doesn’t seem much point to the gimmick. Maybe they’re trying to get audiences to commit to two visits to see the rest of the repertoire, but in the saturated marketplace of a fringe festival, audiences who are prepared to see the same show twice (albeit with variations) must be few and far between.

Having said that, three out of the five plays were first-rate. The opening Gun To Head was one of the weakest, unfortunately. Set in a dating agency office the pace was snappy, although both Niamh Denyer and Brian Higgins’ characters verged on caricature at times. If the actors had given more realistic performances then the writing would have brought out the humour, there were some really funny lines, but the delivery was heavy handed.

The Tearing Up of Fergal went some way to drawing the audience in, with Higgins once more playing a gay character to Mike Kunze’s ex-lover. The observations of a relationship in the throws of a break-up were highlighted in a tender and amusing way, with the acting matching the awkwardness of the situation. The couple arguing over the possession of books with the words “yours or mine?” gave a poignant resonance to the ending. It’s a pity all the books looked the same.

With First Impressions, Missed Connections the quality of the writing really ramped up with performances to match. Kunze and Denyer playing an ever improving Groundhog Day date with two chairs, a table and a bell was five minutes of brilliance. From then on, the rest of the astutely observed, cleverly written and beautifully performed plays got better and better. Joanne Ryan’s understated but OCD riddled character in Icarus was a pleasure to watch, equally matched by Denyer’s honest and sensitive portrayal of her patient lesbian lover.

The final piece, Baggage, completely captured the complexity of finding love in a Tinder dominated twenty first century with the audience letting out an audible sigh of appreciation at the sweetly sentimental conclusion.

The sometimes overlong scene changes are punctuated with music and musician Máire Carr strums and sings her way charmingly through a selection of songs with Colm Horan providing lighting effects.

Couples and Pairs random assortment of ten plays is a lottery. If you want to buy into the gimmick then you’ll probably be 60% lucky, although if the ensemble of directors, Joe Flavin, Howard Lodge, Aoife McGuire, and the producer, Sean Denyer, had chosen five plays that hit the mark then the guarantee of success would have been 100%. You can always go back and catch the ones you missed. Maybe it is a clever gimmick, after all.  

Reviews by Christine Kempell

Underbelly, Bristo Square

Austentatious

★★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Emma Sidi: Faces of Grace

★★★★★
theSpace @ Jurys Inn

The Big Lie

★★★★
Underbelly, George Square

Siblings: Acting Out

★★★★★
Rialto Theatre

Martin Lingus

★★★
Brighton Spiegeltent / Rialto Theatre

After

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

In their Brighton Fringe debut, Irish company Blue Heart Theatre are bringing this entertaining evening of short plays by exciting new writers, with live music between the plays reflecting and commenting on the action. The themes of love and relationships are explored in all their pain and glory: searching for love, finding love and losing it are all covered in a series of ten-minute plays, which are chosen each night by the audience from a list, but with only their titles to go on! Swipe right to accept, Swipe left to reject!

Most Popular See More

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets