THE quest for love lies at the heart of this rather amusing play from Eye Opening Productions, showing at the quaint Barons Court Theatre in west London until June 25.
Although it’s overlong at just short of one and a half hours, Love (To) Bits is not without huge doses of wry humour and wit. It also forces you as a watcher to think about what love means to you. Have you found it? Have you discarded it? Are you better off without it?
Written and performed by talented, flamboyant and confident Ioana Goga, it tells the story of Cynthia and the boys and men (and one woman) she has had eyes for at various stages of her life, from the age of four onwards.
As we learn of her encounters and infatuations, we are given independent opinions on what love means to a whole string of characters – young and very old. Little vignettes, some of them witty, some not. At times, wittily delivered by Nadia Murgia who to her great credit stood in at short notice for Beatrice Bowden who had been struck down with Covid.
The focus of the play centres around a defining relationship with Van (Tomas Howser), a university student two years her senior whom Cynthia meets at a nightclub.
It’s fraught from the start and it’s seldom without issues. Like all bonding, there are personal space matters that agitate them both. They are on-off like a light switch. Each part of their relationship is signalled by a board (held up by the irrepressible Murgia), telling us whether it’s the celebration of an anniversary we are about to watch or an impending argument.
Most of what is good about the play comes from Goga which is understandable given it’s mostly about Cynthia. She rushes on and off stage at a ferocious pace in her red skirt, opining away like a dervish.
Her character is needy. But is she better off with or without a man in her life? Is it more important to love, to be loved, or to love oneself? There are no straightforward answers.
Cynthia highlights what most of us discover as we journey through life: that the pursuit of love is a tricky business. It’s often found, but doesn’t always last. As for loving ourselves, it’s a battle for most of us.
An enjoyable play from a theatre company that packs a punch. It’s hard not to love chunks of it to bits.
Photos by Mike O