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love vs hate, tristan bates theatre, bargaintheatreland reviewThis double bill production really does have the best of intentions and on the most part it succeeds. Wounds by Chantelle Dusette (the hate section of the programme) and To the End of Love by Edwin Preece (the love) compliment each other beautifully and take the audience on a real whirlwind rollercoaster of emotions.

Both plays are very well cast and all the performers show real understanding and commitment to the material – neither of which is easy to swallow. Perhaps the direction of Wounds by Zoe Ford could do with slightly more thinking through and workshopping to make the different time periods in the piece easier to follow but on the whole, both plays are very easy on the eye and fit well into the Tristan Bates Theatre.

I would say that a few too many themes are thrown at the audience during Wounds; a mother estranged from some of her daughters, a rehabilitated drug user, an affair, a tearaway teen, a lesbian couple trying to gain acceptance and, among others, a suicide. All of the ideas are very noble in their intentions but very ambitious to try and cram all of them into a short 50 minute play without the full attention and development they need. Ellie Dickins gives a very controlled and dignified performance, as mother Grace, in which she manages to create some beautiful moments of stillness to show her character’s world crumbling.

To the End of Love is a touching montage style piece centring around the funeral of a young woman and the five men in her life reflecting on their relationships and experiences with her. Niall Phillips gives an incredibly touching performance as brother, Mark and puts a real exciting force behind the piece.

On the whole, Love vs Hate is a well thought out and effective evening of theatre. I left the Tristan Bates Theatre feeling very satisfied. I sometimes find one-act plays to have very sudden or unfinished endings, but both pieces were very certain in their conclusions and were pitched just at the right level.

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Reviewed 15/04/13

By David Coverdale

15th – 20th Apr 2013
Tristan Bates Theatre, London, WC2.



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