Review: Lovesong

A celebration of the complexity of enduring love 

By Samuel Barson

Theatre has provided us with some of the world’s greatest love stories, and the story of Maggie and Billy in Abi Morgan’s Lovesong is no exception. As we follow them from their exciting beginnings, through to loyalties and heartbreak in older age, Lovesong shows audiences a love story that is epic, beautiful, complex and universal.

Director Denny Lawrence must be applauded for cleverly capturing love in all its stages. His strong grasp on the themes and nuances of love is clear throughout every scene and every moment of this play.

Adrienne Chisholm’s set and costume design is stunning and appropriately simple. The moment you walk into the theatre, the setting is inviting and familiar. Chisholm’s set design allows the actors to come and go and inhabit the space with ease, which positively contributes to the overall flow of the play. Chisholm’s costume design was a significant highlight, the colours and tones delightfully capturing Maggie and Billy at their different ages, in two separate time periods.

Clare Springett’s lighting design is so perfect that it was at times easy to forget the lights were coming from a rig attached to the roof of the theatre, and not in fact shining through a window of Maggie and Billy’s home.

The greatest success of this play is its four actors, who are nothing short of sensational. The four performers perfectly portray Maggie and Billy at both ends of their relationship. Paul English and Jillian Murray capture the fragility of Maggie and Billy in their older years, Maddy Jevic and Dylan Watson bring freshness and innocence to the couple as they find their feet as a newlywed couple, recently arrived in a foreign country. English is particularly outstanding as the older Billy, his presence and voice commanding every scene he’s in.

A special mention must be made to composer Gemma Turkey for a magical composition that Campbell Banks performed skilfully live on stage; a lovely touch.

It must be warned, this play will make you feel things. After a harrowing final scene, there was not a dry eye in the house.

At Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre until  23 September.  Tickets can be purchased online and by calling the box office on 03 9544 8083.

Photograph: Teresa Noble