It’s always a nice occasion when a show touches on a personal issue in someone’s love. For me at the moment that’s love. Whilst currently going through a breakup I worried that sitting watching a fringe show about love in our modern society the show might feel condescending or too doom and gloom or even worse, hopelessly optimistic. Instead Steelworks Theatre Company have produced an insightful refreshing honest look at dating in the modern world that is all too relatable for a multitude of reasons.
Given the topic I worried I would be unable to invest in the characters story, instead being left drawing comparisons with my own experiences, unable to look at the general picture this company was working to present. Thankfully this devised piece was universal in its approach remaining nameless and abstract – approaching love from a a scientific narrative.
The two performers, Robert Sharpe and Ruth Hales, were strong together, seamlessly working around each other in the small venue space of C cubed and their portrayal of Him and Her was authentic and believable. The choreography and direction of Rebecca Steel ensured that the story kept flowing smoothly, cleverly replicating early movements to show the cyclical nature of dating. I especially appreciated the emphasis on movement and narration from the actors rather than a forced chemistry between the two. It always felt like Sharpe and Hales were playing these characters to demonstrate the difficulties, and indeed sometimes the simplicities, of love for the purpose of the plot. I liked the fact the characters were nameless as it stopped us becoming too fond of them and too invested in their story and instead able to take in and agree with the narration of the process.
A promising compact story that investigated the intangible subject of love and attempted to present it to an audience who undoubtedly has had many varied experiences. However there could have been no one in that audience that was unable to draw parallels with at least something of their own experience and that was a special thing to see on stage.