Two stories, four lovers and one constant feeling – this quietly small premise is all Hartshorn-Hook productions offer tentatively to their audience. A quartet of powerful, complicated and contradictory love stories, Some Small Love Story takes those grand soaring feelings of lovers and condenses, quietens and bottles them into an hour’s ode to love.
In a simplistically different take on the frenzied jazz hands-wielding musical theatre genre: four distinct yet everyman characters share their intimate stories human to human to a straight-forwardly lovely, if, sometimes, bland soundtrack.
Two young lovers, irrevocably bound to one another and still in the throes of first love, sketch out their feelings in fascinatingly detailed images. Meanwhile, an elderly couple, still childishly happy in their decades-long romance, trace back the years together. Yet, as the two stories blend and become tangled within one another, a third streak of a story envelopes them both: the inevitability of separation and death, both sudden and expected, natural and harshly inhuman.
All fantastic storytellers whose energy and enthusiasm drew you right into the thread of the narrative, Hartshorn-Hook added an unmistakable intimacy to their performance that made it feel familiar and inclusive, like a school day’s circle time for love stories or a lover’s anonymous confessional. The songs were also performed with a unique delicacy that moved some members of the audience to tears.
However, Some Small Love Story will always face the battle of competing with every other love story captured in musical or theatrical form. The disjointed narrative and flashback trope, even beyond death, is now rather an outdated technique that I felt added nothing especially different or unique to a love tale that has, unavoidably, been heard all too many times before. The tragedy of a car crash separating lovers who share their stories from across the grave also couldn’t fail but force me to make comparisons to the likes of Ghost (only without the messy pottery scene and rousing blasts of Unchained Melody) demonstrating a slight lack of innovation.
Yet, Some Small Love Story nevertheless has its place within the Fringe as a sensitive and simple story, the honesty and ordinariness of which will always tug at the heart-strings and tear-ducts of an enamoured attentive audience.
***- 3/5 stars
Some Small Love Story is at C nova until 27 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.