Edinburgh Fringe Review: The Loves I Haven’t Known

The Loves I Haven’t Known confesses to be “an almost entirely true story based on things that never actually happened”. Sparking off all kinds of existential nightmares within that one sentence, this new musical comedy offers a profoundly philosophical puzzling into the strifes of waking up dressed as one of a band of mutant ninja turtles and surviving the Doncaster night-club scene, complete with love among the kebabs.

With a naivety and charm that could move the harshest critic to childish giggles, Chris Bush and Ian McCluskey beautifully capture one of the most honest and observant accounts of a love story failed that I have ever seen on the stage. Masters of the comedy song, it somehow seems that moaning away about your own stupidity to the gentle strums of a guitar is the perfect route to grabbing an audience irrevocably.

As failure after failure is recounted and serenaded, you quickly become smitten with the comic pair, itching in your chair to give them a cuddle and slap the girl who made them miserable. The intelligently crafted songs, unquestionably informed with a Northern kind of frankness, also leave you beaming like an idiot beginning to end.

Combining the missed paths of love with physics, superheroes and childhood questioning, The Loves I Haven’t Known is a kind of Beano annual on girls for grown-up boys. And just like the picturebook creation, this show is full of endearing Technicolor pictures and fascinating tales that will see you savouring every lovely chapter.

**** – 4/5 Stars

The Loves I Haven’t Known is at C venues- C nova until 18th August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets see the Edinburgh Fringe website.

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