We begin with a boy meeting a girl. Valentine (you’ll never guess his birthday), the son of a Polish taxidermist, meets Ash, the daughter of a debt-ridden Tutti Frutti man, outside a medical research facility in the small Welsh town of Merthyr Tydfil. It all proceeds to get a bit improbable, but this delightfully quirky love story triumphs on the back of Alan Harris' fantastically funny script and an artfully directed, engaging ensemble.
George Perrin’s direction is slick, assured, and wholly mesmerising.
Remy Beasley and Andy Rush play Ash and Valentine respectively, amongst other roles as required. Rush brings the classic rom-com, slightly awkward, grand-gesture-inclined protagonist that is Valentine to life with charm and polish; Beasley, meanwhile, is a magnetic presence, a frequent scene-stealer, exhibiting faultless comic timing and a gift for subtle characterisation.
The third cast member, Richard Corgan, mops up a lot of the secondary characters. He’s put through his paces in terms of multi-roling and inhabiting wildly disparate roles, sometimes back to back. But Corgan meets the challenge with ease: as the well-meaning, eternally nervous Mr Tutti Frutti, the laconic, diehard romantic Jakob (Val’s Polish father), and as the weaselly, snivelling porn director Maxi, he is utterly essential to a great deal of the show’s most humorous and heartfelt scenes.
Harris’ script retains a light touch in moments of off-the-wall comedy and sincere tenderness alike: heartstrings are tugged and funny bones tickled with considerable skill. And even when it deals with not-unserious subject matter, the writing is nimble, tackling such issues with incisive, hilarious wit.
George Perrin’s direction is slick, assured, and wholly mesmerising. The three actors glide around the stage, switching seamlessly between lively shared-line narration and vibrantly acted scenes. Light, entertaining and unfailingly enchanting, Love, Lies and Taxidermy is pure pleasure — a production governed by a breathless momentum that sweeps you up, in a flurry of lilting Welsh accents, into its utterly charming story.