Like You Hate Me
Lion & Unicorn Theatre
Reviewed – 25th April 2019
“Tom Lodge’s writing is exciting, vibrant and explores a subject that everyone can connect with”
Within the small but adequate space of the Lion & Unicorn Theatre Like You Hate Me takes a seemingly simplistic approach in representing love and loss. The play sees two characters performed by Acushla-Tara Kupe and Aimee Kember who show us a relationship starting, growing, evolving and finally ending. Through the erratic short scenes, we are shown two people who meet at a party where they “hit it off”. Moving along their relationship’s timeline without an obvious pattern we see snippets from their lives together from drunken mishaps to choosing your favourite Quality Street. This allows us to get a broader sense of the relationship on the surface but sometimes feel that we are left short in certain areas where we wish we could delve deeper. Whereas this is not the main issue with the performance it does stop you from fully investing in the relationship being shown to you.
Clearly the writer Tom Lodge has talent but as the play progresses and you laugh along, you realise that most of the writing is geared towards small quick laughs and where at first this allows you to relax into the show, after a while you start to find it tedious. The comedy element to the performance starts to feel like it is hindering the subject matter being explored, stopping the audience connecting with the characters on a deeper level. In some instances, it seems that certain lines shouldn’t have landed comedically but due to how they were delivered left the audience with no option but to laugh. I think that this would be different depending on directorial decisions, allowing the characters to deliver the quite brilliant script to the audience.
The acting ability of the two young actresses shadows everything else about the play, they allow us in with their genuine and heartfelt performances. We believe that these two people are going through life and experiencing things that we all have been through or will do very soon. As good as the acting is in this production there are some problems with the direction (Jess Barton) especially in scene transitions. These are stylised in low light with choreographed movements that take us out of the world they have created for us. I wanted the performance to stay on its realistic and relatable level that it sets within every scene, but the transitions take us out of the story and remind us that we are just watching a play.
Tom Lodge’s writing is exciting, vibrant and explores a subject that everyone can connect with. This, teamed with the fantastic performances of Acushla-Tara Kupe and Aimee Kember mean you really are in for a treat. Clearly this show does have a few issues, on the surface these seem to be with the directing aspects of the production, with a few minor changes it could match the high level of writing and acting.
Reviewed by Laurie Wilson
Photography courtesy Fight or Flight Productions
Like You Hate Me
Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 4th May
Previously reviewed at this venue: