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A Simple Tale of Love

by on 30 August 2021

You May Meet a Stranger

A Simple Tale of Love

by Sasha Ravencroft

Rude Raven Productions at the Hen and Chickens, Camden Fringe, then touring until 29th October

Review by Heather Moulson

I was intrigued about this production as the flyer carries a very haunting and macabre image, and yet the title is romantic, a mysterious combination.  So as I sat down in the auditorium to a living room set, my curiosity was already inflamed.

Molly, played by Helen Walling-Richards, made an impressive entrance accompanied by an acoustic guitar soundtrack, and gave us a significant monologue.  Her words were funny, sad and edgy.  Molly has suffered a blow from her job and she describes her colleagues in vivid detail, making them real and alive.

JD, played by Daniel Singh Pabla, entered and gave a good first impression of being striking, moody and mysterious. They sat together but, although they interacted, I felt his projection faltered, while Molly’s was powerful.   Unfortunately, this made Molly have to work harder in this vital two-handed scene.

It was clear that this unlikely duo were two extreme opposites, and bleakness and frustrations unravelled smoothly.  Their different worlds were vivid, despite its revelation being a somewhat slow process, from the theme of salsa to JD being from quite literally in another world entirely.

Molly attempts seduction but JD is unforthcoming, to the point of being horrified.  He also cannot comprehend her passion for dancing, followed perversely by a well thought-out sensual dance between them.  Aptly, Molly then declares her love for him.  She recalls her lost dance partner, her former treacherous husband.  Sadly, JD withdraws immediately.

There is an ironic end but Molly, despite her world crashing about her ears, finally knows happiness from winning a dance competition with her cherished new partner.  Plus JD grows into a strong and convincing performance, before his perished and untimely end.

A morality play of sorts, A Simple Tale of Love was well-written, boldly lit and was strongly directed by Nicole Roberts Ryder.  This fifty-minute production is packed with impressive monologues and good pacing.  By the ambivalent end, the mysteries of the haunting flyer became clear.   I was not disappointed at the outcome.

Heather Moulson, August 2021

Photography courtesy of Rude Raven

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