This new musical at the Old Red Lion Theatre had a lot of promise from the very beginning. In this intimate venue, we were invited to step over one sleeping cast member on the performance area clad with grass and estival blossoms.
The story follows Simon, Martin Neely, a teacher who has just been ditched by the love of his life. He takes us through a truthful and poignant look at the different stages of relationships from the first infatuation to the regrettable endings. This is basically a one man show, mostly sung but with the odd humorous spoken line and the occasional interjection by Gareth Bretherton who doubled as musical accompanist and the other protagonist Ben.
The hour long show was delivered elegantly by Neely, who’s voice has a pellucid quality and who’s portrayal of the love lorn Simon left us to reflect on some of the meanings of our own connections. The Duets with Bretherton were really quite beautiful although I found the in/out nature of the Ben character a little confusing.
The lyrics and score by Andy Collyer were pretty and absorbing but did become a bit soporific as the show developed. This wasn’t helped by the searing heat of the auditorium and the strong smell of adhesive and left many audience members struggling to keep their eyes open nearer to the end.
Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland
Photo: Claire Bilyard
The Verb to Love is playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre until 23 May 2015. Click here for tickets