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Review: Strategic Love Play at Summerhall – Ed Fringe

Review by Tatum Stafford


To set the scene – as we walk into the Roundabout at Summerhall, we’re sitting around a table on a small circular platform. It has a big lamp above it. When the lights go down, two actors enter the space, pints in hand, and start a first date.


They are the only two characters in this new Miriam Battye play, and they are aptly called ‘Him’ and ‘Her’ in the script (we never hear their names during the show). As the date starts, it’s clunky, awkward and dysfunctional. They attempt a bit of banter, and Her is vocally frustrated at the notion of having to pretend she is someone she’s not, whilst also sharing her inner thoughts about how unappealing she is to a very confused and seemingly off-put Him. When Him finds a way out of the date, Her makes a proposition that could change everything…that’s all I’ll say without giving away the deliciousness of this complex and intriguing plot.


The performances in this show are electric. Letty Thomas plays Her, and oozes a stunning combination of self-assuredness and self-doubt. Letty is magnetic to watch, and nails the fast pace of patter moments in the script – it was really hard to tear your eyes from her.


Letty is accompanied by Archie Blackhouse as Him. While Him’s track starts a little more reserved, Archie found fantastic levels throughout and made the most of his character’s more intense moments.


The chemistry between Letty and Archie is palpable, and works wonderfully in this intimate, in-the-round playing space. The audience watch them get to know each other from all angles, and when they (spoiler alert) kiss towards the end of the show, it has been choreographed and anticipated so brilliantly. Direction by Katie Posner absolutely nails the tension between these two characters throughout the one-hour piece.


The set has a few tricks up its sleeve, and whilst I won’t reveal too much about it here, it definitely gives each side of the audience the chance to view the date from different perspectives.


This is a brilliant new play featuring powerhouse performances that are so captivating, you’ll believe these are two real people you’re watching on a date at the table next to you. It is an enthralling performance, and one you’ll be lucky to catch this Fringe season. Highly recommend.

Image Supplied

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