I have to admit, entering a pub in West Kensington where the signs to the basement theatre trailed the signs for the men’s toilets, I felt apprehensive. Love Songs In London, however, caught me off guard in the most delightful way.
Love Songs In London is a one woman performance (Lauren Ava Thomas) which utilises the medium of song to explore the all-too-relatable world of a twenty-something singleton trying to survive the London dating scene. Alongside the direction of Amelia Glydon, this is a truly heart-warming and hilarious show.
The entire hour consists of witty song-based storytelling which allows Thomas the space to showcase her musical ability and impeccable comic timing. Particular highlights included the calling out for the ‘sad bitches’ who use Hinge (a dating app) and proceeding to dedicate a song to them, and a Britain’s-Got-Talent-style segment where she attempts to seduce an audience member without getting ‘buzzed’ off stage. The songs are seamless, at times uncomfortable, and always laugh-out-loud relatable. Combined with Thomas’ ability to get audience participation flowing (albeit sometimes reluctantly), Love Songs In London really is the definition of a good night out.
Lighting is used effectively throughout and serves its purpose of keeping the story flowing consistently. Most notably, Lauren occasionally requests for the house lights to be brought up in order to allow her to pick her next love affair/victim. This harsh back and forth with the lighting makes the performance all the more unpredictable and, therefore, serves in keeping the audience engaged; if not slightly on edge!
The only drawbacks come with the space used; as opposed to the performance itself. Barons Court Theatre is, essentially, a basement studio consisting of a dark (almost cave-like) room and small, semi circle audience surrounding the performance space. The small scale of this venue allows for a certain level of intimacy and assists in creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere amongst the audience. However, the large pillars dotted throughout the room do, at times, block parts of the audience’s view. It also has to be said that the set design did little to enhance the performance. Again, space is limited at this venue, however, it would be nice to see a more creative use of the space and set.
It’s important to note that, although this is a comedy overall, there are some really sweet moments of genuine sentiment dotted amongst the red-faced hilarity. A particular shoutout has to go to the story of Pete and Jean; a charming song which follows the love story of Thomas’ very own parents. This is such a lovely, and surprising, way to round off the performance and leaves the audience with a warm feeling; which remained with me for the entire journey back home.
Written by: Lauren Ava Thomas
Directed by: Amelia Glydon
Produced by: Burnt Orange Theatre
Love Songs In London plays at Barons Court Theatre until 19 March. Further information and bookings can be found here.