Chiswick Playhouse, London – until 4 December 2021
Rose is a successful career woman who wants a baby but not a relationship. Adam’s a deadbeat musician who had a bad childhood and therefore has zero interest in procreating. When she returns from six years working in America to find he’s accidentally overstayed his lease in her flat, the two of them must find a way to live together despite their differences.
If you think this sounds like the start of every romantic comedy ever – you are 100% correct. Love Dance by Andy Walker follows the rom-com formula to a T, but that’s what makes it fun to watch. We know exactly what’s going to happen, so we can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
That said, there are a couple of plot twists that will strain the credulity of even the most hardcore rom-com fan. Where usually we’d have a Big Misunderstanding, here we have Massive Ethical Misconduct that feels incredibly out of character, and the play’s ending happens so fast and so perfectly you can practically blink and miss it.
But Love Dance is still a great night out, and that’s thanks largely to two strong performances from Derek Murphy and Jacoba Williams. The pair have an easy chemistry that allows the audience to quickly overlook the characters’ differences and imagine the two together long before either of them catches on to what’s happening. And while they’re both imperfect they’re also very likeable, which makes it easy to laugh at them but also root for them, both as a couple and individually.
All the action takes place in Rose’s modern one-bedroom flat (designed by Humphrey Jaeger), but there’s enough variety in the script that this never gets stale; without leaving the living room, the two manage everything from doing yoga to going dancing to “driving” to the beach. There’s only one moment in the whole play that takes place outside the flat, but it adds nothing to the plot and feels like a misstep from director Lesley Manning in an otherwise pretty seamless production.
Photo credit: Molly Manning Walker
Love Dance is a lot of fun – it’s silly and it knows it, and that makes it an effortless play to watch and enjoy; it was certainly well received by a raucous audience at this particular performance. The storyline isn’t perfect, and could certainly be slowed down a bit at the end to give us time to adapt to what is oddly both an entirely predictable and yet still somehow surprising twist in the plot. But it’s entertaining, funny and completely unchallenging, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need from your theatre.
Love Dance has just announced an extension, and will now run until 4th December at Chiswick Playhouse.
‘A great night out thanks to two strong performances from @derekmmurphy & @jacobakwilliams’: @theatrethingsuk on #LoveDance. At @ChiswickPlay til 4 Dec. #theatrereviews #OffWestEnd