What is love? Is it the crazy infatuations of our teenage years, the strength to make a failing marriage work or the instant bond between parent and child? Or is it something else, completely unique and unexplainable? Steakshed Productions attempt to answer this age-old question in
Although there is quite a bit of work to do, this is a show with excellent potential.
A (rather unnecessary) voice-over announces that this is a verbatim show before it begins and explains the definition: therefore we know that the words used are taken exactly from the mouths of real people. Steakshed make the most out of this, creating verbatim songs that are both funny and apt (some of which are reminiscent of Alecky Blythe’s London Road), and scenes that are surprisingly honest and insightful. For example, one scene sees very young children discussing what they think love is. One says that she and her daddy are so in love that they will get married soon and another says that people in love touch their noses together. These hilarious, yet touchingly innocent observations of the world are what make this show so enjoyable.
The stage is set simply with a few chairs, which are moved around by the actors for different scenes. In some ways, this works well as a blank canvas for the many characters we meet; yet sometimes the arrangement is all wrong and certain performers are blocked from view, which unfortunately affects my appreciation of those scenes.
For the most part, the performers are very convincing, switching quickly and impressively between roles; but at other moments they hesitate, seeming a little confused about what they are supposed to be doing, which ruins the illusion slightly.
Although there is quite a bit of work to do, this is a show with excellent potential. I was moved to tears and laughter in a very short space of time, so all the parts are there, it just needs some tightening up. Steakshed are lucky to have such a fresh angle on a very popular topic – for when will we ever get bored of love?