Ian Salmon’s A Brief Conversation about the Inevitability of Love, directed by Mikee Dickinson, is a sweet romance about the almosts and what might have beens that everyone has buried in their memories.
Mark (Thomas Galashan) and Cathy (Samantha Alton) are discussing their past relationships. Mark’s ex-wife Suzanne hates all of his friends, and he hates hers, while Cathy’s relationship with Philip was plagued by his serial infidelity.
Both Galashan and Alton are dressed casually, with a similar colour scheme, which brings them together as characters. Cool blue light warms up to medium pink giving the play an eerie, dreamlike quality.
The piece is very funny throughout with tongue in cheek humour as the characters make fun of each other. Height is cleverly used as the actors move from sitting to standing, subtly symbolising who has the upper hand as Mark and Cathy good-naturedly mock each other about their past relationships and opinions on love, men and women. Moving from superiority to nonchalance, both Alton and Galashan create a delicate balance of friction which remains positive throughout, even when the characters are exasperated with each other.
The play is cleverly written so that it feels both like part of a much bigger conversation and a poignant heart to heart where the characters sweep through their whole lives. Both characters reflect on past encounters between the two of them, some of which the other does not remember, creating a sense of the tension between what might have been and what was meant to be.
Beautifully romantic and charming, the piece is also incredibly sad and filled with hints of regret which create a sense of poignancy. Very identifiable, most people have a story about the one that got away, the repeated encounters between Mark and Cathy create a sense of fate between the two paths of their lives.
A Brief Conversation about the Inevitability of Love is an emotional piece which explores the idea that sometimes people carry on in a situation because it’s easier than taking a chance and starting again. As the relationship between the two characters develop, there’s a quiet sense of panic as the reality of the situation sets in. A delightful sparring match which answers the unanswered questions about missed chances, this is a lovely piece of theatre which brings a tear to the eye and an ache to the heart.
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 12th July 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★