Dirty Great Love Story

Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna
Soho Theatre Upstairs

Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna Credit: Richard Davenport

This is the story of two ordinary people: Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna (they have used their real names for the main characters). Marsh and Bonna expertly navigate their way through this charming, fizzing and funny tale of love and drunkenness.

The form is really a hybrid of performance poetry and straight play, which works well as it means that an otherwise averagely entertaining story turns into something very special. Moments of hilarity are underpinned by clever rhymes and poignant monologues sparkle: “But she did stop. And she did turn. And I did hope. Cos I don’t learn…”.

Director Pia Furtado in conjunction with Bonna and Marsh has created a funny and genuine piece which draws us in and makes us care for these two hapless 30-somethings who make endless mistakes and pin their hopes on the wrong people rather than each other. Just as it seems to be going their way, it all goes belly-up and we all groan and giggle as Bonna or Marsh wind up in a ridiculous situation.

Marsh and Bonna both have a supreme command of comic timing and mastery of the several characters they portray; Bonna especially does her posh, yet somewhat filthy-mouthed mate ‘CC’ to great effect, showing off the reasons for her award of Best Actress from The Stage at the Edinburgh Fringe 2012.

Marsh has got a geeky yet endearing thing going on which contrasts beautifully with his northern mate Westy: “Rich, you're single ‘cos you’re a twat.” There are some classic moments of awkwardness and an uncanny resemblance in delivery, which is definitely a winner with the audience.

Dirty Great Love Story sits perfectly in the dynamic Soho Theatre upstairs space, and the interweaving of poetry, music (sound design by Steve Mayo) and simple staging culminates in an invigorating production.

Reviewer: Anna Jones