Whether it be in a cheesy rom-com or a contemporary chick lit, we’ve all come across romantic clichés. Many simply lack basis in our mundane reality. However, writer Ian Salmon’s new play A Brief Conversation About The Inevitability Of Love, blends realism with saccharine in an enchanting story about two people who, despite being meant for each other, never find themselves in the right place at the right time.
Despite England blessing us with a glorious downpour at the premiere, nothing could dampen the first performance as part of Little LTF. This story focuses on two characters, Kathy and Mark. Where they are and what they are doing there are shrouded in mystery. Such an unconventional move, while confusing at first, lays the foundations for some impactful reveals throughout the play. We are a fly on the wall in their conversation as they discuss the highs and the lows of their previous relationships. As they go back and forth, twists and turns gradually unravel in the story. We realise that amidst the pair’s struggles, they actually had “many missed chances” of happiness.
Yet ultimately despite the “lost time,” if two people are meant to be together, they will find a way.
Whilst the premise of this play is charming, such an optimistic moral has, like many clichés, lost its heartfelt impact over time by becoming over-saturated in fiction. When a play is jam-packed with overly specific coincidental meetings, it stretches so beyond the realm of plausibility that it starts to lose its relatable touch. As such, audiences can’t connect to the characters and fantastical chemistry starts to seem superficial and hackneyed.
While the notion of “bumping into each other” is rampant within this play, from a Take That Concert in Birmingham to an open day at Keele University, the endearing portrayals by both Samantha Alton and Thomas Galasham keep us invested. When they describe their romantic encounters, you could hear their voices starting to break due to a cascade of emotion overpowering them both. They were equally love-struck which was so touching to watch.
Additionally, the characters themselves were both really well fleshed out. Unlike typical love stories where there is always one character who seems morally superior, neither character exemplifies good or bad. Each of them have their share of unappealing traits such as Kathy’s self-righteousness or Mark openly admitting to creating a league table ranking his girlfriend’s mates in order of who he’d sleep with. This crass joke ends up becoming a running gag, always ensuring a good chuckle from the audience. However, these flaws makes them more authentic, grounding us back in dating realism.
We frequently bounce back and forth between typical romantic clichés to more genuine relationship problems. From love at first sight, frequently referred to as “thunderbolts,” to passion gradually descending into the realm of monotony as we enter normal married life. Across the course of the play, the characters learn to accept a partner’s infidelity for fear of change, and believe in the power of fate and destiny bringing two people together.
It’s a fascinating exploration of love’s complexities, gradually mounting to shocking bombshells and revelations which catch everyone off guard. Without revealing the ending, spiritual aspects to the story are brought to the forefront, reinforcing the idea that everyone has their soulmate. And if fate determines it, whether physically or spiritually, they will be together.
A Brief Conversation About The Inevitability Of Love might present us with oversaturated concepts of love and some very drawn out dialogue at times, yet it’s overall a very heart-warming piece. With minimal staging, this is a play where the actors can truly immerse themselves in the emotion and story, which creates a deep and immersive viewing experience.
Words by Katie Heyes
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Image Credit: David Munn Photography