LOVE tells the story a man who posts an unusual personal ad: he is seeking someone to make love to him firstly, but then to kill and finally eat him. Petar Miloshevski plays both ‘X’, the consumed, and ‘Y’, the consumer, in this harrowing but mesmerising one-man show. His jagged performance utilises a number of forms, including melodrama, mime and abstract dance, but it is a creature of its own making rather than a product of others.
Beginning in a sombre tone – a bedraggled body lying in a heap on stage – Miloshevski lulls us into a false sense of security before firing into his first melodramatic masque, drenched in red light with classical music at blistering volume. Stunned into attention, LOVE maintained my piqued attention throughout.
Occasionally Miloshevski’s diction might prevent you from hearing a word or two, which is a shame in such an intricately crafted piece. But it is arguably his physicality that is most impressive: nuanced to say the least. Each movement is measured and pitched with precision. Both characters are painted in bright white light, a full tangled spectrum of emotion hiding within. One moment you can be watching a childishly excitable young fool dance about the stage, and the next a ferociously vindictive monster will spout flames of vitriol at the front row of the audience. Miloshevski commits entirely to every shift and every gesture. Sweat is pouring out of him, and you can see why. It is this level of conviction that makes his performance and his handling of such a complex subject matter – additionally through such an anachronistic form – so convincing.
There is much to be said for the use of music and lighting also, which are both devised by Miloshevski himself. They bolster the piece, moulding it into a multi-sensory product that approaches you on a unified front, often with violent intent. The costume by Antonella Petraccaro is singularly an indulgent dressing gown that looks like it was made with a curtain from the Palace of Versailles. It is also reversible, a structural device that allows Miloshevski to shift between X and Y with a dislocated folding movement, which works a charm.
All this culminates in the final episode of the monologue delivered by Y. Here, Miloshevski’s delivery is a perfect microcosm for all that has come before. With each and every line, his expression and his voice alter before you, producing a cubist portrait of a conflicted and tangled character. He flits between panicked emotions with the ease that Miloshevski does between theatrical genres. The end result is a unified whole however – a product whose purpose is to be experienced raw more than it is to be fully understood. LOVE is cathartic and violent in equal parts. Miloshevski produces barrels of wonderment from unspeakable human tragedy.
LOVE played at the Tristan Bates Theatre from 20-21 February as part of FIRST 2015: A Festival of Solo Performances. For more information, see the Tristan Bates Theatre website.
LOVE returns as part of BlackBox Festival at Etcetera Theatre Camden, on 13-14 January 2016. Tickets are available on the BlackBox website.