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Breaking-up is hard to do
By Jane Cole
Despair, bitterness, bad behaviour - El Toro premiered Lovedrunk at Ipswich's Pulse Fringe Festival 2009. It's billed as a story about 'loving somebody who does not love you' featuring video, music and physical theatre.
Having failed to get a ticket for either of the two other Pulse performances on 11 June, I was relieved when the man in the box office said "Yes, we have seats available for that one madam". I was rather sceptical however as to why this one had not sold out and whether other people had inside information and had chosen quite deliberately to give this one a miss.
Anyway, always one to make my own mind up with regard to such matters, I turned up at the New Wolsey Studio, optimistic that I was in for a treat. This was, after all, a Pulse event and I had yet to be disappointed by anything I had seen.
I am delighted to say that this was yet another production that lived up to the standard that I have now come to expect from our local fringe festival, and was indeed supported receptively by a good size audience at the New Wolsey Studio.
Described in the programme as 'physical theatrical storytelling for the YouTube generation', Lovedrunk is a story about one man's journey as he struggles to recover from a broken relationship.
Claire his girlfriend, who he'd lived with, has walked out on him and he doesn't know why. Clearly still very much in love with her, the young man (performed eloquently by Andy Godfrey) takes us on his journey as he battles with the grieving process of losing the woman he loves and finding himself single again.
Using physical theatre (a combination of dance and movement involving scaffolding and laptops), video projection and some excellent choices of music, we feel his pain and despair as he tries desperately to carry on with his mundane everyday existence at home and in the office.
As anyone who has gone through a break-up of a relationship knows, it's a real tough situation to deal with. Sometimes it can seem like the end of the world with many emotional difficulties or hurdles to overcome.
Feelings of sadness, helplessness, loneliness and guilt consume you before finally acceptance and hope can finally allow you to move forward. This production portrayed all of these emotions creatively, intelligently and at times humorously.
One poignant sequence that stood out for me was when the young man was stuffing his ex-girlfriend's clothes into a plastic carrier bag for her to collect. He picks up a white negligee that quite clearly sets off a maelstrom of emotions.
Against the backdrop of a screen, on which a wooded scene is projected, he proceeds to dance with the negligee to a cover of George Michael's Careless Whisper - a beautiful version I hadn't heard before. There were lovely moments when the image of Claire is seamlessly projected onto the negligee, giving the impression they are dancing together again.
But, just in case we get too sympathetic, we also see our man phoning Claire's friends to bitch about her and even claim that she's died, which leads to a laugh-out-loud moment which I won't ruin for you!
Other music used included Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit performed by Patti Smith and Susannah & The Magical Orchestra's version of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Overall I found Lovedrunk to be an innovative and progressive piece of theatre that would have resonated, I am sure, with most members of the audience.
(For more Pulse Fringe Festival reviews, use the links on the right.)
last updated: 12/06/2009 at 14:10
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