Love (to) Bits attempts to incorporate verbatim theatre as well as the experiences of the lead protagonist, the hopeless romantic, Cynthia (Ioana Goga). The show explores the concept of ‘what love is’ through separate story arcs which unfortunately interrupt the pace and flow of the show, instead of enhancing it.
Beginning with Cynthia at the age of 4 we see her idolised and highly relatable version of what love is going to be like when she grows up. Throughout her progression the changes and shifts in expectations and reality alter as she matures and discovers what she feels love is through Van (Tómas Howser). Van has a typical video game routine and ‘bros before hoes’ mentality, as we’ve seen before in the typical white male love interests in most of the series’ which Netflix deliver. Why should it be any different in this production? Within the story arc there is something that everyone can relate too due to the show’s story being cliché and predictable, resembling a typical American ‘chick flick’. Throughout the show, there are many instances where Cynthia’s internal monologues are projected as a ‘write as you know’ kind of segment where we, as the audience, are doing our best to relate and connect with this character at this time. Cynthia flickers between treating us and her relationships like a personal counselling session and reaching out for our approval to no prevail.
Nothing about this show feels out of the ordinary, and feelings of awkwardness overtook the near and far laughter that was encountered like tumble weed in a western film due to the monotone note of the delivery of the text.
Beatrice Bowden represented multiple verbatim characters, however the clear enthusiasm for ‘acting’ the over dramatised characters deflects from some of the meaningful words within the text. Bowden also displayed signs to symbolize the momentous events within a relationship which felt unnecessary and only added to the run time, which could have been used elsewhere to explore the emotional development of the couple’s first time.
The venue itself, Barons court Theatre imitates a black box miniature thrust stage with the quant amount of 57 seats, allowing for an immersive and captivating experience. However, this show unsuccessfully reached this. Using the space with dangling props, repetitive exits and entrances from various areas and inessential costumes only appeared untidy, rather than adding anything to the performance.
Although this show was 60 minutes in length it unfortunately felt a lot longer. This was due to the lack of emotive and physical shifts, despite the amount of context given within this time (a whole timeline of dating attempts, relationships, and self-discovery).
The highlight of this show was towards the end. This was the only part which felt genuine and direct with no need for exaggeration, which the entire show could have been improved upon with less of. Our wish was that this was at the beginning of the show and the revealing of the deeper message and incentives was left until the end.
Despite the notable nominations and festival involvement I regret to see the uniqueness, creativity, and any attempt of a compelling storyline. In our opinion, this show currently only warrants a 2-star review. With that being said, I do feel there is potential in the story formatting itself with development and destinations still to be met.
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