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Dirty Great Love Story

  • Theatre, West End
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. © Richard Davenport
    © Richard Davenport

    Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott

  2. © Richard Davenport
    © Richard Davenport

    Felix Scott and Ayesha Antoine

  3. Richard Davenport
    Richard DavenportDirty Great Love Story Production Photos Photo Credit: Richard Davenport for The Other Richard

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

More than a touch of Richard Curtis to this rhyming romcom

Katie is a hen. Richard is a stag. And after one awkward drunken encounter they can't stop meeting. This award-winning two-hander stumbles through a romance in furiously punny rhyming couplets.

The first time round, the play’s authors Katie Bonna and Richard Marsh played themselves. This time, Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott introduce themselves (slightly weirdly) using the authors' names. Under Pia Furtado's direction, they flit between a whole wedding party's worth of characters, and land one-liners with aplomb.

This might be poetry, but it's definitely not pretentious. Instead, it's ingeniously ordinary, a whole box set of Richard Curtis films chopped up and served in a kind of verbal buffet of wedding snogs, drunken clinches, awkward poshos, and uncharacteristically flamboyant declarations of love. 

And as these two horny thirtysomethings booze and rut their way through a series of heterosexual rites of passage, each drunken fuck-up gets the crowd rooting for them to get together a little harder: Richard's 'Shall I tell her?' gets a resounding audience 'Yes!'.

It's properly good fun. But its warts-and-all honesty sometimes feels a bit sad, as well as sappy. Like the slightly weird way that Richard teases Katie for being too drunk to remember their first encounter. Or the sudden appearance of Katie's frenzied baby hunger, which seems to motivate her eventual 'Yes' just as much as the gluten-free croissants he brings her.

So the love story didn’t quite get me all gooey-eyed or wobbly kneed or however you’re supposed to feel. But it’s great seeing a show grow from a poetry reading in a Balham pub to a teeny-tiny fringe space to the dirty great hall of a West End theatre, and these two klutzs fill it adorably.

Written by
Alice Savile


£20-£45, Jan 18-25 previews £10-£30
Opening hours:
From Jan 18, Mon-Sat 7.30pm, mats Thu, Sat 2.30pm, no mat Jan 19 (press night Jan 25, 7pm, n), ends Mar 18
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