A bookshop becomes a crucible in which the complexities of three romantic pairings are developed, explored and resolved.
It admittedly began rather hesitantly, and seemed somewhat wooden. But as the plot proceeded, there was a real opening up into the play’s fuller potential.
You got the sense that the characters were rather love/passion-obsessed, there being no other real topic of conversation between them. And yet there was some realistic (but fun) treatment of corresponding issues around both power dynamics and stereotypes, ‘patriarchal’ marriage, and the gossip and jealousy that always impair relationships. But above all this, we enjoyed a very human tale about unrequited love, the complexities of dating, and the frequent divergence between different people’s agendas – and yet that these relationships were variously reconciled had a lovely air of the fairy-tale ending, but maybe a whiff of artificiality too.
The strongest performance maybe came from Mikha’el Seth playing Davie (described as “a wonderful little otter”), in the extended scene with Zae. Indeed, where the characters were given the space to develop, amidst the otherwise rather random exchanges, there were some really emotive and genuinely touching moments. Helen Brookes also did a wonderful, entertaining and effortless job at fulfilling multiple roles in the play.
At times, this had the feel of being a cross between ‘Another Gay Movie’ and ‘Acorn Antiques’. It was theatre on a shoestring, and the jokes mainly yielded smiles rather than laughs. Yet there was something really charming – not only about the performance as a whole, but how we eventually saw the characters blossom. “People like us aren’t normally allowed happy endings.” It was ultimately a heart-warming play that certainly cheered our day.
The performance finished at 5.10pm.
Queer Street, Saturday 12th August, 4.20pm, theSpace @ Niddry Street
Continues 14th – 22nd August 2023: 4.20pm – £10 | £8 (concessions)