Wednesday 29 May 2019

LOVE review

We all love and we all want to be loved. It’s tough to live without it but in Patricia Cornelius’ compelling new play LOVE, the idea of the difficulties of loving and living is explored in its rawest form. The story centres on three disenfranchised youths (Carly Sheppard, Tahlee Fereday and Ben Nichols) all struggling to find a connection with one another, even if that means more heartache and pain in the long term.

Cornelius has crafted a simple story of people trying to determine who they are but with a tragic layered complexity to how everything unfolds, the production has the audience completely invested in Annie’s narrative and eager to see how things will end for her. It’s incredible witnessing Cornelius create poetry from such brutal and violent language and how the rest of the creative team brings this vision together.

Susie Dee’s direction creates a claustrophobic environment for the cast as they are bound by Marg Horwell's set design consisting of a raised, square wooden platform in which they perform on. When the actors are not in the scene, they remain on the platform - standing in the corner or sitting in the edge - supporting the notion that no matter what choices they make, they are trapped in this story, in this life. This mood is further heightened by the shiny party streamers that are strewn around the platform and leading into the audience seats, hinting at the beautiful mess they yearn for and which we are a part of. 

The cast bring a remarkable physicality to their characters with Cornelius’ words being fully realised through Dee’s direction, particularly by Sheppard and Nichol. The choreography and graceful movements between scenes are beautifully executed, creating yet another juxtaposition to the ugliness within LOVE and the circumstances these three people find themselves in. Sheppard delivers a formidable performance in this role, especially in her ability to simultaneously expose Annie’s roughness and her frailty. Her scenes with Nichol have an intensity that constantly switch from tender and caring to cold and vile.

While Fereday exhibits fine skill and nuance in portraying Tanya, there are times when her presence needs to be stronger as there are a several scenes where she stands with her hands resting by her side, diminishing the power and authority that she purportedly holds over Annie and Lorenzo.

It takes time to comprehend what has unfolded in LOVE once the final scene plays out. It’s a play that allows you to acknowledge what has most likely led to these people being in this situation and also to consider what will happen to them next while as they live out their lives on the fringes of society. LOVE leaves such an impact on its audience that the story of Annie, Lorenzo and Tanya doesn’t simply end when the lights go down but continues to burn inside you.

Venue: fortyfive downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Season: Until 9 June | Thurs - Sat 7.30pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets: $48 Full | $38 Conc
Bookings: fortyfivedownstairs

Image Credit: Pier Carthew  

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