Pros: Dirty Great Love Story is well executed, hilarious and cute with hardly any clichéd moments.
Cons: Not recommended for those who do not like poetry, romance or happiness(!)
New Year, new review. It seems so long since I did one I was half-worried I wouldn’t know what to write. Thankfully, Dirty Great Love Story at the Arts Theatre has given me bucket-loads to say.
Dirty Great Love Story follows the turbulent relationship of Katie Bonna and Richard Marsh. Richard is a socially awkward but sweet ‘Joke Guy’. Katie is a sarcastic singleton still in love with the man who broke her heart: ‘You-Know-Who’ (Voldemort, but not really). It sounds like a match made in hell but, despite their differences, Richard and Katie remind me of many happy couples I know and the pair are irresistible to watch.
Before we get down to specifics, I would like to point out how surprised I was at the location of the Arts Theatre: it was just by Leicester Square tube station! Maybe I’m just used to travelling all over London for a good show, but I was not expecting to be passing through a small door into a very classy and large theatre. Regardless, Dirty Great Love Story definitely deserves its place in the West End. Not only were the staff helpful, but they were down to Earth. From the moment I sat down in my seat there was a positive energy in the room. It seemed like everyone just wanted the best for this production and believe me, they got it.
Everything from the acting to the special effects was exceptional. Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott, the respective stars of the show, were not just dynamic as Katie and Richard but demonstrated the scope of their talents as they also played every other character. As CC and Westy the pair were outrageously funny, and even the glimmers of Lindsay and Matt Priest (Richard’s temporary girlfriend and Katie’s snobby boyfriend) were distinctly different. The set design was simple but effective, with smoke and lights used to recreate every setting, be it a club, festival or church balcony. While the focus of the play may have been on the story and actors, the production values were priceless.
What struck me most however was the form the show took. The lyrical poetry was genius. Being an English student, I really appreciated the choice to couple poetry with theatre. It seemed fitting to use love poetry in a play about love. Combining British sarcasm and non-clichéd romance, Dirty Great Love Story really is an original British romantic comedy for the 2010s.
Finally, credit must go to the director Pia Furtado. Furtado’s direction resulted in a witty and fresh night out. The show summarised what is very typical of life as a single person in London, exploring the thoughts, desires and concerns of many Londoners through a poetic stream of consciousness. If you want a feel-good start to 2017, definitely see Dirty Great Love Story. It’ll have you crying with laughter and melting inside because of its cuteness.
Written By: Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna
Director: Pia Furtado
Producer: Tim Johanson Productions
Box Office: 020 7836 8463
Booking Link: https://www.dirtygreatlovestory.co.uk/
Booking Until: 18 March 2017