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TRCH Hairspray

Theatre Review: Love Sick

28 March 17 words: Adrian Reynolds

All about the birds, the bees, and the aliens with dodgy wigs.

Love Sick by All In

It’s a bit daft writing a review about a show as deliciously silly as Love Sick. The delight of the performance is just how wonderfully stupid it is. Crap wigs, rubbish accents, visual gags a toddler would dismiss as unsophisticated. It’s sheer joy from start to finish, but as soon as you put words to it the innate idiocy of it all gets in the way.
Even the conceit of the show is rubbish when written down. Aliens whose planet is in danger come to Earth looking for genetic material, and find out how we go about passing on ours. In their misunderstanding, they demonstrate just how ridiculous the mating game is. Not rocket science, but then you don’t go to rocket scientists to make you laugh.

Being aliens, our two guides don’t know what to look at and what doesn’t count. They’re interested in love and sex, and they don’t distinguish between humans and animals – that we’re Earth creatures is all that matters. Cue a hysterical extended gag where a variety of animal and bird mating noises are played, and one of the two performers comes up with the absolute perfect body language to match the sound. Only better than that. And maybe a dozen times, each one funnier than the last – but also somehow moving.
Thing is, a lot of this is in the ballpark of clowning and improv, two words to strike fear into the heart of many a theatre-goer, and with good reason to be fair. But unlike many improv-mongers, Stephen Sobal and Amelie Vital know when to stop – there’s a structure they’re working within, and they’ll have some fun in and around it, but always know when to move on.

There’s some use of props, and the opening sequence sets the tone wonderfully, with the story about aliens coming to Earth brought to life with coloured lights inside a white cube that the two actors are squashed into. The budget for it wouldn’t even pay for a special effects pixel on a po-faced Zack Snyder Batman film, and is all the more joyous for that.

I’m not sure I’ve had such fun in a theatre for ages. And what made it special was that, along with the frequent and gut-busting humour, there were some genuinely touching moments. Which, come to think of it, is a better recipe for love than some of the relationships I’ve been in or often see around me.

Love Sick with All In was at Nottingham Playhouse on Friday 24 March 2017.

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