Love, Love, Love

West End


Royal Court Theatre

Until Sat Jun 9 2012


Victoria Hamilton (Sandra), Sam Troughton (Henry) © Johan Persson

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

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2.5 / 5

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Cliched and clunky. This play for the first two acts is just a dated sitcom with no subtlety and very little properly funny moments. If you like middle of the road sit coms you will enjoy it. The final scene rescues the play (just) but overall this is a fail for me. Not well observed and dull.

Jim E17

Some great performances, particularly from Victoria Hamilton and Ben Miles. They do amazingly well to carry off the trick of playing the same character in three generations and their transformation from idealists to ageing pleasure seekers is very well done. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the "children". They are credible - good, in fact - as teenagers. But as thirty somethings, notwithstanding the fact that they are supposed to be emotionally immature (in different ways), they just don't convince. Part of this is due to what they look like, but I think it is also driven by some real questions over the narrative. The set up is good - and in the first act, the contrast between the younger couple and the staid brother in the sixties particularly well done. But I felt this tension - between traditional thrift, hard work and social conservatism and the more creative, sparky, aspirational "sixties generation" - was thrown away too lightly in the rest of the play. The second and third parts really became quite boring debates about family life, spiced up with some punchy dialogue, but also rather too obvious jokes about where the idealists end up living. The play attempts to deal with this flatness by introducing an moment of (almost) tragedy at the end of part two, but this just felt like a melodramatic device. The same was the case in part three, with the big "reveal" being a massive let down, and just another middle class dinner table winge from the daughter. And as for her assertion that "no-one I know is as well off as their parents were", well, that is just nonsense. Yes, it is hard for young people at the moment (although this woman is supposed to be 37 when she makes the observation...) but there were plenty of people in the last generation for whom life was very tough, unglamorous and poor - and the fact that we see this in the character of the brother in the first act makes it even odder that this should be given to us as some kind of dramatic justification for the narrative at the end. I found the play confusing ultimately - it had no real central message, and ended up being a pretty bog standard, soap opera style story. Which is a pity, because the dialogue, the staging, and above all the two leading performances were excellent and deserved better.