Packed full of laughs and beautifully heart-warming
A simple story of a messy one night stand and the subsequent fallout of the two hapless protagonists as they attempt to continue on with their intertwined lives, the play brilliantly taps into many of recognisable sentiments and situations of anyone going through their late twenties and early thirties, ideal for fans of Phoebe Waller-Bridge & Vicky Jones’ recent smash hit Fleabag.
The plot could easily feel clichéd but it is the instantly recognisable situations and relatable characters that make it both hilarious and heart-warming at the same time.
Marsh and Bonna do not reprise their original parts, but instead Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott do a fantastic job at the leads. Only featuring two actors, it is down to Antoine and Scott to carry the play but they do it brilliantly, taking on the challenge of switching between the lead roles and auxiliary characters, managing to create significantly memorable personalities without them feeling too clichéd or like stereotypes.
The beauty in the performance is that despite the erraticism, desperation and unpredictably of the Richard and Katie and characters, it is their vulnerabilities that ultimately drive them. It is the backbone of the original scrip and both Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott manage to elegantly entwine this throughout their performance.
The staging is simple, with director Pia Furtuado ensuring that despite a sparse stage, the performance still fills the space of an, albeit fairly intimate, West End venue.
It’s a simple story and at just over an hour, quite a short running time for a West End show, but it feels very suited to this format. Anything longer would feel the need to justify its running time by attempting to offer some kind of profound or existential dissection of life, but instead Dirty Great Love Story allows itself to be a fast-paced, funny and relatable depiction of life on the cusp of thirty.
Primarily being written in verse, the short running time also acts in its favour. Packing more into each line and making for a denser narrative, allowing the story to charge along at lightning speed without ever having felt too rushed.
It is rare that a Fringe show manages to take to the West End stage and still be a success while retaining what originally made it popular, but packed full of laughs and beautifully heart-warming, Dirty Great Love Story more than holds its own.
Reviewed by Shaun Millis