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Love Song

Dundee Rep
Four stars

When damaged loner Beane's apartment is burgled, his life is turned upside down at the opening of John Kolvenbach's play, which has travelled the world since it first arrived onstage in Chicago in 2006. Beane's wake up call is mainly due to the lifeline brought to him by Molly, a puckish sprite with a guitar slung over her shoulder and a penchant for doing things she shouldn't. This is in stark contrast to Beane's sister Joan, who lives upstate with her avuncular husband Harry, in the thick of an altogether more domesticated dream than her brother. It is through Beane's wide-eyed imaginings, however, that Joan and Harry learn to play at being kids again, while Beane himself gets his house in order, with or without Molly to spark off.

By putting such seemingly contrasting sets of lives on a revolving stage, director Andrew Panton captures a world in motion not of Kolvenbach's characters making. There are no hints of how they got where they are or any kind of back-story to explain what left Beane sop awry, but in the end that doesn't really matter in a play that marks out a necessary process of survival and rebirth after the crash.

Emily Winter and Barrie Hunter invest Joan and Harry with a highly-strung uptightness that gradually mellows, and Sarah Swire's Molly is the ultimate free spirit, who also provides the soundtrack to Beane's own liberation as played by Ewan Donald with beatific off-kilter charm. As fantasy and reality meet, the play's feelgood ending makes clear how all it takes to stop the world collapsing in on you is to let in a little light.

The Herald, April 22nd 2016

ends

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