Mabbs & Justice: Love Machine

From the moment the audience is met at the entrance by the overenthusiastic Mr Alesbottom, it becomes clear that the duo are desperate for us to like them. Initially this is engaging as we will like them through the reasonably amusing opening sketch. Unfortunately their overacting and occasional scans to test the reaction soon become trying.The feeling grows as the quality of writing deteriorates and their attempts to salvage the show grow all the more desperate. There is rarely a comic observation on love or being alone that hasn’t been heard before and there are vast gaps in the writing, born with the intention of showcasing Mabb’s comic acting: a controversial choice, and not one that paid off. Mabbs would benefit from more naturalism in his performance as his numerous caricatures are remarkably similar and too far removed from reality to have an effect on the audience.Justice has an easier comic manner on stage but can’t help but be infected by his partner’s try-hard demeanour. The real star of the show, however, is the female voice-over of a lonely woman on a dating site, who later appears in images as a woman being stalked. Neither the lines nor the direction are particularly witty but her authenticity and comic timing shine through as her vulnerable stutters and hesitations produce a few laughs from all 12 audience members.Sadly this was a brief highlight and for most of the performance I could not help but be distracted by the raucous pensioner next to me, who gave a yelp of delight as Justice went topless. Approval indeed.

Reviews by Sam Kingston-Jones

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The Blurb

For only £5999.95, you can join the Loneliest of Hearts Agency for Dating. Owner and founder, Jeff Alesbottom says, 'Come along, meet the members and hear the stories. But please, don't soil yourself.'

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