Love is a Work in Progress
Reviewed – 2nd October 2018
“Rankine hits all the right notes both in her singing but also the pace of the stories”
Love Is A Work In Progress begins in Tara Rankine’s ‘heart’ (a.k.a The Space) and from there we are treated to a one woman show full of storytelling, song, and paradoxes. So many types of love are explored in the show; sexual love, addictive love and love for friends, and Rankine’s metamodernist treatment keeps these stories both dick-joke funny and moving, often at the same time.
The show follows a now-familiar one-woman/man pattern with four major stories stitched together through conversational banter, audience interaction and musical peaks. This platform serves the show well and Rankine hits all the right notes both in her singing but also the pace of the stories as the night turns from gymnastic booty-calls to the moving and obviously personal story of ‘Bunt’ which closes the show.
At times, the show appears to contradict itself only to wiggle out, stealing both meaning and vulgar honesty with it. As we enter the vaulted chamber at The Space, we’re met with Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” which seems somehow inappropriate; despite the show being so clearly autobiographical and oft-focused on heterosexual love, it’s accessible and entertaining to all with the right sense of humour. With the theme of profound and sacred love, the script is also irreverent, rude and kitsch in all the best ways and ties these two strings together with talent and energy. And, for a show about love and relationships in 2018, the performance doesn’t play to the galleries of #metoo with tales of cruelty but instead examines love as it’s been experienced by Rankine: complex, fathomless but sometimes about the size of someone’s dick.
Love is a Work in Progress seemed itself to be under construction. The scaffolding of a traditional one-woman show stood around both as support and a metal cell. The episodic storytelling makes sense and helps the show build to a climax (no pun intended) but ultimately contains the themes and leaves the audience thirsting for more detail, more coherence and just one more step from the ideas and messages.
But this is a fun show. In fact, if you have a moment, this is an audience-member-eating-a-pie-from-between-her-legs, songs and silly costumes, inflatable-penis fun show. Rankine’s infectious enjoyment and love for her work cannot fail but to draw in each stiff Tuesday-night audience member and reward them with a personal performance that still feels common and accessible. Paradoxes abound and give the performance a strange truthfulness. For those of you who long for genital jokes, followed by a good cry, this is a show you shouldn’t miss.
Reviewed by William Nash
Photography by XXXXXXXXXX
Love is a Work in Progress
The Space until 6th October
Previously reviewed at this venue: