LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
by Mike Bartlett.
Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs) Sloane Square SW1W 8AS To 9 June 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-described 2 June 2.30pm.
Captioned 29 May.
Post-show talk 17, 22, 30 May.
Runs 2hr 40min Two intervals.
TICKETS: 020 7565 5000.
Review: Jenny Greenwood 3 May.
Love across the generations is a happy experience.
Sandra and Kenneth fall in love in the 1960s, in a haze of marijuana smoke, holding each other and swaying to the sound of The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’. "Something’s changing,” Sandra promises, and she’s right. But as they learn, sometimes change can lead us to places we’d never intended to go.
Love, Love, Love follows Sandra (Victoria Hamilton) and Kenneth (Ben Miles) on their journey from teenage idealism to self-satisfied retirement, spanning about forty years. The three acts all open in a new setting, each one the interior of a home and each one totally different and brilliantly designed. The Royal Court stage is transformed from shabby London to family friendly Reading and then finally emerges as an ultra-modern, glass-walled country house.
With each new setting we are re-introduced to Sandra and Kenneth a number of years on. They are aged brilliantly, maintaining the character traits of their younger selves but with added maturity; rock and rollers laced with a middle-aged cynicism. Suburbia, parenthood and office work aren’t compatible with the 60s dream of freedom and its ultimate selfishness and cracks have begun to show. “Something’s gone wrong,” shouts Kenneth in the heat of an argument; “we live in Reading”.
Victoria Hamilton is excellent, especially as middle-aged Sandra, the hippy feminist turned mother of two who encourages her children to smoke, drink and tell her to F-Off. Between gulps of white wine she regales stories of festivals past, hitchhiking adventures and everlasting summers. In an unhappy role reversal, the two children, Rosie and Jamie, berate their parents for smoking, drinking and keeping them up all night.
Although it is over two and a half hours long, Love, Love, Love is engaging throughout. In Sandra and Kenneth, Mike Bartlett has created characters that we both love and loathe and through these characters he illuminates the world of the 1960s, the attitudes of its inhabitants and the effect they had on the world we live in today.
Sandra: Victoria Hamilton.
Kenneth: Ben Miles .
Rosie: Claire Foy.
Jamie: George Rainsford.
Henry: Sam Troughton.
Director: James Grieve.
Designer: Lucy Osborne.
Lighting: James Farncombe.
Sound: Tom Gibbons.
Assistant Director: Caitlin Mcleod.