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Our review of Lambco's 'Love is Blue'; soon to be playing at the Edinburgh Festival

Guest post by Jeremy Simmonds


While they may lead us into such predicament, how much might our individual situations and environments influence the way we respond to grief or emotional setback? Well, perhaps more than we might realise. In Love is Blue, Don Cotter examines such a question in compelling and occasionally heart-breaking detail.

Man sitting on settee, second man standing at sideboard about to pour a drink
Cast of Love is Blue; Andrew Ewart (‘Aaron’) Sam Walter (‘Olly’)

Upon a sparse set boasting little more than the most basic of furnishings and what will become a significant mannequin, space is created for the two contrasting protagonists – the hard-drinking, cocksure financier Olly; and the fresh-faced new-to-street-life Aaron – to breathe one another’s air and explore this hypothesis as they share with one another their individual tales of loss. If the characters themselves might initially appear stereotypical, over the course of an hour Cotter extracts from such conflicting personalities some unexpected depths and more than a few parallels.


The duo’s initial conversation having been prompted by Aaron’s desperate situation and Olly’s subsequent open-handedness, the onlooker might be fooled into expecting Love is Blue to descend rapidly into a tale of ill-advised seduction. However, while the script gently dallies with this possibility, the fractured yet compelling interchange meanders between curiosity, regret and suspicion on its journey to expose some all-too-recognisable human frailties. Olly, it transpires, is dealing with the death of his partner; meanwhile his foil – despite being far from home – still struggles to escape the shackles of a deeply-religious upbringing and his adoptive family’s brutal dismissal of his sexuality.


Throughout the performance, Sam Walter understandably dominates the stage, his bravado-fuelled narration frequently breaking the fourth wall, yet revealing Olly as a character apparently better than what one imagines to be the crass limitations of his world. Or so it seems. His generosity in offering the equally-credible Andrew Ewart shelter, a hot shower, and clean clothes prompts cynicism, temptation and a fear from the stunned Aaron: fear, mainly of being lined up as potential replacement in Olly’s life. Yet, as this suggestion is vehemently denied by the city worker, his own bereft and lovelorn state becomes increasingly exposed. Overseeing all events is the mannequin – simultaneously a totem of Olly’s tragic love, as well as an intrusive interloper for the wary and watchful Aaron. All told, this intriguing piece goes on to provoke flirtation, rejection and no small misdemeanour between its characters.


What transpires may beguile and intrigue, and perhaps leave more than a few questions left unanswered. However, as the characters weave their own stories around that mannequin, those watching might be moved to interpret Love is Blue in ways unintended by its creator. And one or two might even assimilate a sequence of truths that extend way beyond the action onstage.


Recommended.


Written by Don Cotter

Directed by Prav MJ

Cast: Andrew Ewart (‘Aaron’)

Sam Walter (‘Olly’)

Produced by LAMBCO Productions


Edinburgh Fringe

All productions from Lambco at C Cubed 2nd to 27th August

34 York Place


LOVE IS BLUE ED FRINGE performed at 20:30 daily (45 mins) at C Cubed

posters for 4 stage productions on at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023
All 4 of Lambco's Edinburgh Fringe productions 2023

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