6 March 2020

Love, Love, Love at Lyric Hammersmith was nicely done

Lyric Hammersmith is one of my home theatres, that is it is one of the easiest to get to/from, and so it is one that I go to quite regularly. Of course the theatre's location is not enough of itself but the prospect of a Mike Bartlett play (yes, another one) was enough to get me there and getting Circle Seat A23 for £21 seemed like a great deal.

Pre-theatre for Lyric Hammersmith has long meant eating in the Cafe and Bar beforehand and more recently it has also meant having a coffee and some cake in the ground-floor cafe too. Between the two I went for something of a walk/explore through Brackenbury Village which was good for both exercise and curiosity. The walk kept me away from the theatre for more than originally planned and I had to forego the main meal I had planned and go for a couple of small plates instead, and that turned out to be a great plan.

The central devise of Love, Love, Love was unusual and clever with the play consisting of three scenes in the same family each scene separated by twenty years.

The story started in 1967 and so we also had the "Love, Love, Love' lyrics from The Beatles' song All You Need Is Love.

Scene 1 felt something like The Young Ones with two students and one of their brothers together in a scruffy flat for a date that does not go to plan. This was more chaotic than romantic and there were plenty of laughs too.

In Scene 2 they are a couple juggling teenage children and their own professional and social lives. It was almost My Family. Somewhere along the lines a few wheels fall off a bus.

In Scene 3, and an ice cream later, the parents are living the Baby Boomers' dream with financial security while the two children, for different reasons, are struggling. This was a dark scene and no sitcom comes to mind. Love here became an excuse for not doing more, "I love you but ...". The main point made here was one that I had already accepted and I could watch this scene in smugness rather then shame.

My enjoyment was enhanced by the presence of Nicholas Burns who played the hapless Martin in Benidorm. It is always a treat to discover a Benidorm actor on stage. Surprisingly, his biography on the Lyric Theatre website does not mention this major role, especially when it helps to confirm his comedy pedigree which was very much on show here.

Love, Love, Love did not push any boundaries or stretch any mental muscles but it was funny and clever and nicely done.

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