REVIEW: Caryl Churchill’s LOVE AND INFORMATION

You’ve never seen anything like this

By Margaret Wieringa

The set gives the audience nothing to begin with– stark white, with white rectangular plinths arranged around the space. Then, as the audience are still settling in, a couple of people appear, the house lights drop suddenly and the rollercoaster is on.

Love and Information Photo Credit Pia Johnson

Every production of Love and Information will almost certainly be different to every other production ever staged because of the mysterious and challenging nature of the script. Caryl Churchill has written seventy-six scenes for the script, some of which are compulsory, some optional, and each production must have at least fifty-one of these scenes included. There is a set structure, yet within that structure there is flexibility both in the order of the scenes and the characters who speak the parts. Confused yet?

I love it when writers fool around with form – even should it not work, it is interesting to push what the audience expect and how messages can be delivered. But the unusual structure of Love and Information makes for a truly wonderful show.

The performance consists of a jigsaw of scenes of varying lengths and emotions. Some are long and drawn out, pulling the audience in; others are barely a thought, perhaps only a line or two. Between each, the performers run on and off stage, bringing along the props as required. It must be very organised chaos out the back with the number of props and costume changes that take place.

Initially, I thought that the loud music and extremely bright, colourful lighting that separated the scenes was going to get tedious pretty quickly. I learned pretty quickly to trust the work of director Kip Williams to create change within the similarities.

The cast are fabulous, so in tune with each other, tight on the changeovers and bringing a wide variety of characters. It is such a marvellous ensemble that each cast member is able to shine, though special mention must be made of Alison Whyte’s ability to stay extremely still in several scenes.

Love and Information is not a traditional story, but an exploration of emotion and relationships. It is hilarious, moving, beautiful, light, heavy and exciting. Go see it. Absolutely.

Venue: Malthouse Theatre, Sturt St Southbank
Dates: Jun 12 – Jul 4
Tickets: $35 – 60 via malthousetheatre.com.au/

Image by Pia Johnson

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