Clare Sinclair finds the current tour of Abi Morgan's play 'a moving portrayal of marriage.'
Some say that our lives become fragmented snippets of memories as we grow into old age; moments caught in the show reel of our minds. In part, Frantic Assembly’s Lovesong is just that – a poignant retelling of the life of Billy and Maggie. Yet it’s more than a simple account of the life they made together – it forms a moving portrayal of marriage, defined not through generation or age but by the connection between two people.
While Edward Bennett and Leanne Rowe play an excited William and Margaret as they take a leap of faith setting up home in a new place, we see Sam Cox and Siân Phillips as Billy and Maggie years on: heart-rending, and endearingly in the twilight of their time together.
At its heart, this is essentially a play full of nostalgia as the elderly co-exist with the memories of their selves 40 years prior, yet Abi Morgan’s writing has steered Lovesong away from the twee and taken the bittersweet edge off the tale without missing out on any sentimentality. They have a marriage filled with difficulties to face. A husband and wife dealing with many of the tribulations a couple must: financial worry, the longing for a family that never comes and, ultimately, the preparation of life without one another. It is this honesty, the frankness of the piece which makes Lovesong so highly anticipated after a storming success in London.
Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett have mastered the ability to segue movement-based portions into this performance, making this play feel fluid as the memories float into present time for Maggie and Billy. All four actors show great skill in the way they interact with each other, and the increasing sniffles in the theatre are a testament to their evocative performances. Every element of this show pulls the audience into their lives, wanting us to feel every emotion they do. Carolyn Downing’s sound design, full of rousing sentiment ties in with Ian William Galloway and Adam Young’s video design, showing their memoirs until the mood of the piece lies thick in the air. Lovesong might make you cry, but for all the right reasons.
Lovesong is at the Citizens until February 11 then continues its UK tour.