THEATRE REVIEW: Lovesick ★★★★

There’s a breathness to Georgina Barley’s Lovesick, developed by listening to the Bob Dylan song of the same name, that has a richness and fresh take on a two-hander play; From a Consultation Room to a warm, embracing home, the dynamic between patient and surgeon is one that is unique to the genre, moving away from the countless Teacher to Student relationships that seem to overwhelm the industry.

Acting as Writer and Performer in this piece, Barley sets up Sarah as a woman with lots of questions, and most importantly, who the donor was that gave away their heart to them embodies hers. It’s one that may sound a little elusive, but due to the weird, and at times toxic, relationship that Sarah shares with Maggie, played by the formidable Avena Mansergh-Wallace, she strives for answers, and ultimately receives more than closure.

Director Marlie Haco does a blinding job in extracting the text and bring these complex characters to life, and the chemistry from the duo proves this; there’s a sense of vulnerability and trust between the two that warms throughout the 90 minutes, and the layering between their actions, whether verbal or not, is palpable, just like the glowing heart from above their heads, which fluctuates at different intensities throughout.

From a technical perspective, the Lighting and Sound excels the piece even further when placing the characters into the heart of the story, juxtapositioning the light and dark from our characters; a scene that's clearly set outside, and later within the piece, sees Maggie glowing as she dominates with talk of cultural references such as The Sims, whilst there's darkness on Sarah, only truly allowing the glow of the ticker to shine onto her face, is an expert choice and shows our patient in a pain of still needing to find her answers, whilst sharp transitions and fading music throughout from closing to opening the following scenes also allows a natural flow.

Lovesick plays at The Hope Theatre until Saturday 6th November 2021.

Reviewer: Jamie Gutton


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