Theatre, theSpace on the Mile, Venue 39, 21:30.
CW: Violence, mental health issues, attempted suicide/murder.
Love & Money is a surreal theatrical storytelling experience that swings between sincere scenes echoing real-life situations and the dismal realisations of corporate-speak infomercials. Telling his tale in reverse, David, a widow, explains his wife (Jess’) death to a new lover. Every scene rewinds through Jess’ compulsive and unsustainable consumerism and the strain this gradually subjects them both to as a couple and as individuals; culminating in Jess’ touching and quite philosophical soliloquy to the audience following her engagement to David.
As a play, it certainly makes you sit up and think, but not always for the right reasons. Love and Money is a fascinating exploration into the deeply concerning effects of unfettered consumerism on so many aspects of our lives. However, it wasn’t presented particularly well. The set wasn’t adapted to suit each scene, and at times literally got in the way of the performance. The actors had many roles to play, sometimes with little to distinguish one from another, often making it quite frustrating to watch.
Despite getting off to a slightly alienating start, with David providing a voice for both of the women in his life in addition to his own, the script felt authentic, especially during confrontational dialogue, and included some very subtle gallows humour that really makes you reconsider standard materialistic views of the world. Watching Love & Money in a back room of the Radisson Blu on The Mile added to its sombre tone – making the audience wonder about the overwhelming presence and influence money plays on our lives.
Overall, the performance was a little too confusing. While I left the show with some big ideas about so many pervasive factors in modern life, these were obscured by my thoughts on what could’ve been done so much better. Although the story and characters (Jess, particularly, was played very well) were most engaging the production as a whole just felt a little lazy and haphazard.
Image courtesy of the Love and Money twitter page: https://twitter.com/LoveAndMoneyUWE