Some Small Love Story, as the title may suggest, is a short, self-contained and in the end inconsequential story about love and loss, with some songs thrown in for good measure. Despite some excellent attempts by the actors to breathe life into it, the show is marred by the quality of its book.
The musical follows a married couple and a pair of grandchildren. The first discuss their own love story and the second that of their grandparents. Unfortunately, instead of keeping its cards close to its chest, Some Small Love Story shows its hand far too early, changing the dynamic of the story within the first 15 minutes of the 50 minute show.This causes both repetition and frustration; it is certainly a big reveal, but had it been saved until later it would have been far more poignant.
The actors do well with what they are given, however. All four can sing beautifully and carry harmonies with precision, while their storytelling is both lively and emotional: David Kristopher-Brown as Oliver being a highlight. However, this does not get away from the fact that the actors are forced to repeat the same material for most of the musical. This means that every soliloquy ends with a predictably mournful expression and the pacing is stubbornly stuck in second gear. It’s not their fault, but the play encourages melodrama and they have to put a lot of effort into breaking out of it.
The ennui is also emphasised by staging. Had the show’s book more to recommend it, the cast standing stock still in a line would have carried it; unfortunately, in its current state, the inherently repetitive nature of the play is mirrored in the movement.
Some Small Love Story is not a car crash by any means, it’s just not as deep as expected. Had the surprise come later then the tone may not have been repeated so often as to make it tedious. There are better love stories out there, even if they aren’t told better.