[author-post-rating] (3/5) There’s a lot of whimsy floating around at the Edinburgh Fringe this year – I’ve seen three shows in the past two days that have “love” in the title. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, but my sweet tooth has been well and truly sated for a little while.
The Love Project is sweet, cloyingly so at times, although it mostly stays on the right side of sickly and at times is genuinely affecting. Every Day theatre company, founded by Ellie Browning who also directs, has been interviewing people about love and this is the verbatim result. It’s an interesting set-up, and the cast play a whole host of characters discussing their various ideas about love, telling stories and anecdotes, and sharing advice.
Some of the accents are a little bit dodgy (we cover East End, Essex, Dublin, Glasgow, Middlesex and others), but in general the cast play their parts well. Rachel Dale is particularly good as Cora, an older woman who’s been married for 56 years, and as Drew, a nine-year-old girl giggling about breaking up with a boy she had a crush on because he was annoying. Toby Manley is also amusing playing her monosyllabic husband and her younger brother, who loves his Lego.
The script has been cleverly woven from the interviews by Browning and Amy Michaels, offering us pretty fully-formed characters from a few snippets of their lives and ideals. It’s a bit of a mish-mash of voices and thoughts, but this is outweighed by the honesty and humour of using real people’s words, hesitations, deviations and all.
The piece manages not to feel manipulative or voyeuristic, either, and balances its poignant moments with funnier ones. There are a couple of laugh out loud moments, and plenty of wry smiles and nods of acknowledgement. There’s no bitterness or anger, though, only the good stuff. This is a show very much about lovely love – there are a few mentions of heartbreak, but the whole show is overwhelmingly sweet.
The Love Project is at Underbelly until 25 August. For more information and tickets, visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.