Love is complicated, there’s no denying that. Dirty Great Love Story accepts this and presents a frank modern day tale of first chance meetings, missed opportunities and failed relationships. Based on and created by couple Katie Bonna and Richard Marsh, the Arts Theatre becomes their backdrop, transforming into a nameless bar, hotel room, music festival and a stately home.
Bonna and Marsh’s relevant script highlights the couple’s differences. Richard delivers his thoughts via lyrical and poetic verses whereas Katie presents her ideas through prose. This is jarring initially however as the evening progresses this forms the basis for the couple’s relationship. Their initial meeting is relatable, a chance meeting at a club as they celebrate their friend’s stag/hen dos. What’s great is that both characters are relatable. Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott have the audience on side from the get go.
Dirty Great Love Story doesn’t gloss over the theme of love, rather it presents it as a feeling that develops, continually changes and doesn’t particularly happen simultaneously. Missed opportunities cause comedy and heartbreak, there’s a frustration that these two protagonists can’t seem to sit down and explain how they both you, but that’s human nature. Antoine and Scott not only zone the audience into their will they won’t they romance, but they brilliantly breath life into the vivacious characters that surround them.
Mark Howland‘s multicoloured fluorescent lighting transforms a once blank canvas stage into a vibrant space. Howland’s lighting captures the hallucinogenic atmosphere of the evening and is effortlessly symbolic of the couple’s relationship. Pia Furta-do directs a laugh out loud, down to Earth show looking at questioning that fine line between friendship and romance. There’s a complicatedness to the evening that’s all the more real. The evening however feels longer than it should. The show begins with such energy, that by the play’s end the feeling is that certain scenes are a lot longer than they should be. Dirty Great Love Story is a breath of air so if you’re looking for a fun West End show to watch, this is it. 3.5/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
Dirty Great Love Story is currently showing at the Arts Theatre until Saturday 18th March. For more information on the production, visit here…