When you take your seats at the Chiswick Playhouse you note how richly detailed the set is for Love Dance. We are in a flat which is presumably a decent 1-bed set-up with a shared living/kitchen area.
It belongs to Rose (Jacoba Williams), a rather uptight hospital consultant, and there’s a tenant, Adam (Derek Murphy), a jobbing musician who hasn’t been looking after his health. Both actors give charming performances throughout.
From an early set-up around a misunderstanding on the tenancy contract (I was unclear when and where we were), matters quickly shift into the baby territory, biologically speaking.
Unlikely as this may be, it leads to amusing moments of cringe as Rose’s innocent yet direct messaging leads to an avalanche of pornographic pics, and sweet scenes where the pair waltz or mime out a scary ride to the beach.
Andy Walker’s play relies on plot contrivances that don’t really ring true – a committed consultant like Rose is unlikely to breach medical ethics so readily, and Adam’s good fortune really seems unlikely.
Love Dance has its moments which are really funny, and a whole middle section where Adam’s Irish charm and Rose’s social inepititude start to evolve into a warm friendship.
The one room location works well without feeling too claustrophobic, and Lesley Manning’s direction brings the lighting and sound design together perfectly to suggest the passage of time, with the outside world suggested through closed blinds giving a little glimpse of light.
However, the final sequences stretch credulity and I guessed the ending quite a while before we got there, feeling it didn’t really ring true with the characters as they were originally introduced. It’s a shame, as if inspiration and interest fizzled out.
You can watch Love Dance at the Chiswick Playhouse until the 4 December – buy your tickets here.
Image credit: Molly Manning Walker