TIME Is Love is a moody, sexy and sultry play from the pen of Che Walker – who also skilfully directs. It fizzes along at a rapid-fire pace, helped by some mighty fine performances from a young and vibrant cast. Leading from the front is Sheila Atim (Girl From The North Country) who shines brilliantly throughout. Yes, moodily and sultrily.
Set in California and flitting between 2016 and the present, it centres on the stormy relationship between Blaz (Gabriel Akuwudike) and Havana (Jessica Ledon). A partnership thrown into turmoil by Blaz’s imprisonment (in 2016) for a crime for which he took the hit while his long-standing friend Karl (Benjamin Crawley) escaped detection despite the probing of Seamus (Cary Crankson), a somewhat seedy policeman who seems more interested in satisfying his own enormous carnal needs than getting criminals off the streets of Los Angeles.
The repercussions of Blaz’s imprisonment are as significant as seismic activity on the Saint Andreas Fault as Havana falls for Seamus’s charms while Blaz is banged up, angering Karl in the process. Is Karl secretly in love with Blaz? The relationships between Karl and Blaz, Karl and Havana – and of course Blaz and Havana – are all impacted. As indeed along the way are those between Atim’s Rosa (a local lap dancer who knows everyone and has a mighty big heart) and Seamus (yes, he just can’t stop himself), Rosa and Blaz (he turns to her after Havana’s philandering) and Rosa and Havana (long-standing friends).
Quite a ménage a cinq. For good measure, Walker also throws sex worker Serena (a super cameo from Sasha Frost) into the melting pot – as it turns out a former school acquaintance of Blaz’s who is prone to dreaming about pterodactyls flying over Los Angeles. What is she on?
Will it all get rather messy when Blaz gets out of prison or will he be a reformed individual? I think you probably know the answer.
The play’s sensuality is ratcheted up a notch or three by some intimate background videos (Chai Rolfe) that support the various couplings (beautifully choreographed by Jonny Vieco). The music, composed by Atim, is also somewhat mesmerising and entrancing.
Visually, it is all rather attractive and engaging. Whether the regular digressions into Spanish work add to the play is open to question although the actors cope with the language switch effortlessly. As for the central message I am not sure there is one other than confirming what we know already – namely that the inclination to cheat on those we love is never far away. Betrayal and love, constant bed partners.
Yet Time Is Love brims with Latino zest. Theatre’s version of Pisco Sour.
Time Is Love runs at the Finborough Theatre, Chelsea, London until January 26.