No Cure for Love, Lion and Unicorn Theatre

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Disclaimer: This was the debut play of reviewer for View from the Cheap Seat Emma Burnell.

No Cure for Love by Emma Burnell, as part of the Camden Fringe Festival, looks at what happens when we are given a chance to love after being in love. Scott (Stephen Russell) and Rose (Wendy Morgan) are two reasonably successful singers, who probably aren’t household names but have a loyal and dedicated audience as they perform a series of concerts at Broadstairs Folk Festival. The two find themselves sharing a dressing room and as a result have to deal with their past and future.

A play set at a festival should be filled with music and Emma Burnell and Jordan Brown have also provided original songs to move the story along. The music acting as a monologue for the characters to express their feelings. The length of the play means it is hard to invest in the romantic relationship, it builds then is quickly resolved but it is interesting to see characters in their fifties talk about their desires and regrets. Morgan’s Rose is a Steve Nicks figure who has embraced her maturity and knows she can command men with her charm and Russell’s Scott is her male counterpart, more of Mick Fleetwood than a Lindsay Buckingham but his Aussie charm is believable as a popular and charismatic singer.

The play’s debut run could see some improvements, a monologue that happens off stage with a powerpoint presentation of famous couples with issues takes the audience out of the moment and I hope future versions see the characters on stage as we seen their physical response to their relationship and not just their inner monologue. The conversations around sex and regret felt honest but it was hard to gage the relationship; had it been a long time since their last encounter or had they just decided to be honest with each other now, that aspect seemed to be a casualty of time rather than undeveloped.

As a debut it is a strong start with potential for expansion (maybe we need to meet Scott’s daughter and ex-wives from conflict) but as a short two hander this play makes its audience think about their own relationships and their own expectations of behaviour once they get to a certain age.

No Cure for Love was on at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe Festival 12-14 August 2021

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