As a piece of verbatim theatre,
Offers a documentary-like analysis of what love means to a variety of survey respondents
The show was devised by Mairi Davidson and Clara Bloomfield, and offers a documentary-like analysis of what love means to a variety of survey respondents. The answers are often illuminating, from a twenty-something whose subsequent romances have lacked the spark of her teenage passion, to a woman rejoicing at feeling a kind of attraction from a photograph after a devastating breakup.
In a particularly interesting section on internet dating, the number of respondents who were hesitant about looking for love online was surprising, including one interviewee who pithily concluded that most people who use the sites are either “scared or horny.” The only downside was how heteronormative these love stories are – there isn’t a single LGBT couple in sight!
Some of the ways Davidson and Bloomfield used the survey responses to structure the show are really good fun, including some hilarious improv when Davidson went on a date with an audience member and later dumped him. There is, however, an overuse of repetition and Davidson and her fellow performer Stephen Will sometimes don’t make sharp enough distinctions between characters when multi-roling (although their portrayal of middle-aged romance was tenderly executed). The whole piece could be slicker and injected with more energy; for a show about love it’s remarkably passionless.
Part of the problem is that survey responses are unlikely to offer much dramatic immediacy or turbulent emotion and the fragmentary snippets of romantic experiences leave little room for characterisation. Though the range of different voices is part of the piece’s charm, the romances with named participants (slightly embellished from their verbatim source) were often sweetly touching but never moving enough for the audience to root for the couples.
In its current form I Love You / It’s Over is interesting and insightful but never adds enough to the source material to make it gripping theatre. It will make you reconsider the way love is often presented on the stage, but also leave you with a renewed appreciation for dramatic licence and more tempestuous theatrical romances.