Review by Carly Fisher
Following the basic premise of a romcom, Actually, Love, transcends its intimate shipping container surroundings to deliver a new love story that questions the cliches of the rom com format, whilst simultaneously offering us a beautiful new rom com to sink our teeth into instead.
When Alex and Stevie reunite in a rehearsal studio - one knee deep in writer’s block, the other on the brink of great success in Hollywood - the tensions are high and the jealousy is palpable. Add to this interaction that the two definitely have a history and we have ourselves the perfect set up for this rom com.
Sam Woof takes on the cynical Alex - seemingly desperate to be the centre of attention at all times, it is clear that Alex really is simply seeking validation in assuming this position. Woof’s delivery is perfectly characteristic of our modern slangs and rhythms which makes him instantly relatable to so many in the audience. Where Alex battles with insecurity, Woof certainly shouldn’t! This piece shows them off brilliantly!
Jordan Broatch is the aspirational Stevie. Serious about his career but also serious about his love for Alex, he comes across as the more doe-eyed of the two. Broatch effortlessly slips between accents and offers some great vocals in the show’s final number.
I wish that this show had had more songs - I was expecting it to - because the songs were absolutely highlights in the piece. Witty lyrics combined with strong musicianship, and performed by great voices, I really was hoping for more!
The characters could use more dimension to them but I think that in giving them ‘more,’ the show may fear risking the parallels with the standard rom com. Personally, I would encourage them to take that risk and flesh the piece out even more - right now it is very cute but these performers are so talented, I think it would not be a great push for it to have slightly more ‘oomph’ or grit to it.
Despite that, what is here is a well written, well paced two hander that sees the characters dancing around their own feelings by delving into improvs and rehearsal scene work of other characters.
It is refreshing to see a non-binary couple at the centre of a rom com story, giving a sense of both agency and authenticity to the piece that leads to an obvious sense of pride from the actors in what they have on offer. And rightly so! Though I think that this work could develop a lot further on the back of this season, as it stands, it is a great little fringe show that will leave you with all the good feels after their one hour time slot is up.