A moving exploration of love and life at The Loft - The Leamington Observer

A moving exploration of love and life at The Loft

THE BITTERSWEET effect of time and frailty on a loving relationship is acted out, and danced out, in this top-class production of Abi Morgan’s Lovesong.

A couple seen simultaneously just starting out, and facing end-of-life pressures, take us through the freshness of love, the damage of mistrust, the cost of forgiveness and the subtle balance between familiarity and discovery. These are by no means areas previously unexplored by theatre, but the simultaneous presentation and the possibilities that offers are wonderfully refreshing.

Central to this production is a quartet of uniformly excellent performances. It would be hard to imagine a better balanced quartet. The dynamics across couples and across time is simply perfect.

The younger incarnation – Sophie Jasmin Bird and James McCabe – exude energy, love and aspiration while their older selves – Lorna Middleton and David Bennett – mix sympathetic reminiscence with a creeping vulnerability. There’s plenty to enjoy in the acting alone.

The inspired staging supporting this fabulous cast is almost as good in itself. Concealed entrances and a hugely fluid approach allow for a constantly-shifting, rarely still progress of action and interaction.

A brilliantly executed video projection and a pitch-perfect soundtrack add to the whole without ever distracting from it. This is a production which displays its choreographed smoothness throughout.

The function of memory and imagination means the different time zones, even the elements of live action and film, regularly cross, younger version dancing and acting with older without it ever jarring in the slightest.

Craig Shelton’s direction doesn’t miss a detail. There’s light and shade in the dramatic exchanges and moments of perfect stillness when that’s required. The input of movement director Dan Walsh is abundantly evident. There’s an utterly compelling element of modern dance to this piece which blends perfectly with the standard stage movement. It’s brave and inventive, and it works splendidly.

In the end life, no matter how much love it may enjoy, leads inexorably toward its inescapable conclusion and here the play holds back nothing in tugging at the heartstrings. No spoilers here, but there’s not a lot left to the imagination.

How much this production moves you to tears may depend on what personal thoughts and memories it triggers. But this is not simply a tear-jerker and its success should never be measured in pure tears. It’s a fine piece of fluent theatre and deserves as much applause for creativity and style as it does for poignancy.

Visit lofttheatrecompany.com for further details.


Matthew Salisbury




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