Everybody likes a bit of romance.
Unfortunately there's not much of it around. Let's take a week (this week) in my life as an example, a MARRIED man with two CHILDREN asks me out for a drink and then when I say no, asks to be friends. Yes friends. And then a former 'beau' turns out to be an even bigger idiot than first thought.
But my pathetic specimen of a love life isn't the point of my post. The real and more important point is, if you're after some romance in your life, and you're off to the Edinburgh Fringe this month I urge you to look up Close Knit Theatre and their gorgeous love story, A Preoccupation With Romance. Conceived during, rehearsed at and inspired by life at Sheffield University.
Written by Welsh playwright Beth Grant the play seems uncomfortably familiar as it unfolds. It's a story we've all played a part in, one of unrequited love which in this case retains Shakespearian names but is solidly set in the modern day.
Girl likes boy.
Boy likes girl.
Girl tells him.
Boy gets scared and stupidly turns her down.
But as we know, it doesn't end there. This short but beautiful morsel of a play follows a constantly shifting, lust and lie filled relationship between two people who desperately just want to be together. The couple, played by Sonia Jalaly and Paul Hilliar tease and taunt one another throughout, a routine somewhat lifted by the traces of physical theatre that the script allows. As in most good love stories, friends play a part with actors Kelly Jackson and Nick Birchill offering comfort and cruelty in turn. They are joined by a chattering chorus who offer insight and reassurance throughout in case you can't quite get to grips with the ever changing state of play.
As mentioned above, the script plays with language of the past but there are sharp bursts from the present which catch you by surprise. It is apparent from the well thought out set, costumes and characterisation that director Sean Linnen crafted the performance to make the most out of Grant's words and witticisms. Each character is distinct, helped by the script but secured by the talented cast.
It might be the company's debut, but the play isn't self-conscious like you might expect from a first timer. Their preview performance was confident, assured and simply stunning. If their twitter feeds are anything to go by, I think their secret might be a few cheeky shots of gin. But who are we to judge when they're selling tickets like they have been?
Follow them www. twitter.com/CloseKnitTheatr
and go and see them www.twitter.com/ZOOvenues