Edinburgh Fringe 2011
A drama with music performed by a young cast of four. Some Small Love Story is as quaint and sweet a piece of theatre as it is moving and honest. The voices fill the space, the story is gripping, however at times this piece is a little static.
Before even entering the auditorium this performance has begun. The performers come out and ask questions such as “Have you ever been on a romantic weekend away, if so where?” or “What is your favourite flower?”, “How did your grandparents meet?”. These answers are employed in some cases to fill in certain narrative details in the show, creating , a more personal experience in some cases for the audience. However, whether intentional or not, these questions have a second function. As a collective the company have now made the entire audience consider their own experiences and when the characters become known instantly take on the personas of characters in the audiences own lives.
Musically this show has a contemporary sound, and, at times feels like a Robert-Brown or Pasek and Paul song cycle. The book combines an interesting use of tenses, for example a young couple talking about their relationship a year before it happens and telling the audience “I will”. The audience are held by intertwining storylines exploring both what it is to love and what it is to lose that love. By placing the plot-lines across generations, Some Small Love Story articulates beautifully just how universal these themes are.
The writing is sensitive, creative and dynamic, however the staging of this piece at times lets it down. The characters enter and stand in a horizontal line facing their audience, the first time they move from this formation is at the curtain call. This creates a dynamic that is simply to still and visually does not engage its audience. It is of course the story which must be central to the work, and it is obviously not a show calling our for large scale dance numbers, however is calling out for some movement. The young couple having some kind of contact, a brotherly hug to a distressed sister, human contact and recognisable gesture would add that personal touch, and move the piece on visually, complementing the success of the musical and narrative aspects.
The direct address approach is all very well, and communicates a moving story in an interesting fashion, however its static nature causes at times the audience to become disconnected work. Nonetheless, the performances are strong, the music is exciting and the story is touching. It is an moving performance and well worth going to.