by Diana Miranda
Written and directed by Joshua Thomas, For All the Love You Lost is a sincerely moving piece coloured by passages of spoken word poetry and physical theatre. Despite focusing on contemporary dating, it succeeds in portraying the emotional value in connections beyond romantic love.
The ensemble lures the audience in with a dreamlike prelude that encompasses movement and spoken word to evoke the vastness of an ocean. The image of floating lightly while feeling the pressure of the water foreshadows the sense of vulnerability and beauty in human relationships that Morosophy Productions explores.
We move from abstraction to reality and meet Alex and Harriet (Thomas Price and Ellena Strestik), a young pair from London preparing for their first date. To say that they are anxious is an understatement. The people around them step in as caring sidekicks with pep talks and reassuring actions. A sister suggests outfits and encourages getting a wax; a mate sends a wine bottle to loosen up the nerves. We soon realise that the pair’s fragility comes not only from the anticipation of a date but from deep marks of former heartaches.
Alex and Harriet are the dictionary definition of awkward unease: leg’s fidgeting, blowing air into sweaty armpits and buttoning a shirt up to the very top of the neck. But they bring comic warmth to the play, and so does the rest of the cast (Aaron Barrow, Maddy Carter, Elizabeth Lindsay, Ethan Chappell Mason, Elliot Perlic) as they come together to depict the layers of companionship that intersect the main storyline. Among these layers, I only find myself wishing that the mother-daughter bond was a bit more intertwined within the narrative. It feels significant, but it can enhance its relevance, too.
It is the beautiful spoken-word interventions that infuse the performance with its vitality. The fourth wall crumbles during such passages, and the most heart-swelling moments are delivered while perusing the audience and looking at them straight in the eye. However, overall the show doesn’t quite get to the point of suspending disbelief the Epic theatre does, as Morosophy Productions suggests. The gesture is indeed there, especially during the amusing bit in which the cast overtly discusses if Edinburgh’s audiences will understand the nerve-wracked Alex’s struggle to find his way on London’s tube. However, these scenes cast a mesmerising spell that enhances engagement with the narrative, rather than estranging the audience from it.
While the anxiety of dating makes good comedy material, Morosophy Productions handles the topic with care, making this piece as uplifting as it is poignant. For All the Love You Lost reveals that pain and joy are two sides of the same coin. Having the courage to flip this coin into the air is what shows us we are alive.
For All the Love You Lost ran until August 21.
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