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A Hundred Different Words For Love

James Rowland
Tangram Theatre
New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

The New Wolsey’s 19th Pulse Festival is about halfway through now—and there’s been a range of performances from scratch shows to fully formed productions previewing before an Edinburgh Fringe run.

A Hundred Different Words for Love is part of a trilogy by James Rowland, the first of which, Team Viking, he brought to the Pulse Festival last year about the early death of his childhood friend Tom and how he and best friend Sarah decided to give him a Viking burial. That first piece was quite emotional; A Hundred Different Words is a bit more light-hearted but features some of the same characters.

It’s just one man on stage telling us a story occasionally interspersed with a bit of music created on a keyboard and played as background on a loop, but James is a consummate performer who knows how to draw an audience in and then keep them hooked.

He reminds me very much of the early days of Hoipolloi’s Hugh Hughes creation from Shon Dale-Jones.

The piece starts with a story about winning and then losing a girlfriend and moves on to the wedding of his best friend Sarah to her partner Emma and his role as Best Man of Honour, for which he dons a red dress. It’s clever, poignant and funny and has a lot to say about different types of love and loss we can experience.

He’ll be taking the third piece in the trilogy, Revelations—about helping Sarah and Emma have a baby as a sperm donor—to Edinburgh this year and I for one can’t wait to see it.

Reviewer: Suzanne Hawkes