Social comedy shares ups and down of love

Jen Amosa and Hugh Neill take the stage as Sandra and Kenneth in Love Love Love at the Theatre Royal, opening on ...
BRADEN FASTIER/FairfaxNZ

Jen Amosa and Hugh Neill take the stage as Sandra and Kenneth in Love Love Love at the Theatre Royal, opening on Thursday June 8.

A comedic play that explores romance, betrayal and fidelity is about to hit the stage at the Theatre Royal. 

Love Love Love traces the lives of young lovers Sandra and Kenneth from the free-wheel'n 60's through to retirement years in 2011. There promises to be lashings of clever humour and irony along with plenty of 'aha' moments that the audience can identify with.

Nelson Repertory Theatre are presenting British writer Mike Bartlett's latest play, Love Love Love. Set in London in 1967, Beatlemania is in its prime and it's the summer of love for Sandra and Kenneth. 

Jen Amosa and Hugh Neill as Sandra and Kenneth, rolling up, in the play Love Love Love.
BRADEN FASTIER/FairfaxNZ

Jen Amosa and Hugh Neill as Sandra and Kenneth, rolling up, in the play Love Love Love.

The three act play takes the audience from the blissful freedom of early romance, through to a stormy dysfunctional marriage, with two teenage kids on board. The final act finds Kenneth and Sandra divorced, living their own lives.

Kenneth, who still loves Sandra, has retired and is looking forward to a leisurely life of travel and golf. However their daughter Rosie, who has a huge sense of entitlement,  has other ideas which she proceeds to implement, with surprising results.

Hugh Neill, plays Kenneth, Jen Amosa, Sandra, with Andy Wolfe as Henry, Kenneth's brother, Susanne Smith as Rosie, their daughter, while Josh Radcliffe plays Jamie, their son.

Neill says that while the play is comedic, there's also a serious side to it.

"It's a social comedy. The play lays bare the consequences for growing older without growing up," Neill says. "It's about a clash between the generations and  reflects the state of the world."

Neill and Amosa agree that portraying characters over four decades, while challenging, is all about body language and reflecting a level of energy that is appropriate for the age they're playing. 

Smoking cigarettes and puffing on a spliff, a marijuana cigarette, were popular in the 60's, something Amosa has had to make look authentic.

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"The biggest challenge for me is doing the whole spliff thing, pretending to smoke and acting being stoned," Amosa says. "We've worked around that though and of course can't actually light up on stage."

Neill says the play is very funny, with clever dialogue, while reminding audiences of the huge changes that have transpired over the span of the play.

"Humour is a really good way of getting across the message," Neill says. "If it gets people thinking and talking after the play, that's what we'd like them to take away."

Love Love Love, Nelson Repertory Theatre, the Theatre Royal, Thursday June 8, Friday 9, Saturday 10, then Thursday June 15, Friday 16, Saturday 17, 7.30pm. Tickets from the theatre.

 - Stuff

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