Review: Love provides a glimpse into the harrowing realities of those living in temporary accommodation

PUBLISHED: 14:03 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:03 29 October 2018

The dress rehearsal of Love directed and written by Alexander Zeldin at the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre. Picture: Sarah Lee

The dress rehearsal of Love directed and written by Alexander Zeldin at the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre. Picture: Sarah Lee

Sarah Lee - 07930392407

Christmas is supposed to be a time of merriment spent with loved ones.

The dress rehearsal of The dress rehearsal of "Love" directed and written by Alexander Zeldin at the Dorfman Theatre at the National Theatre. NO EMBARGO

For the families depicted in the National Theatre’s production of Love, Christmas is spent battling with the local authority to escape the nightmare of living in temporary accommodation.

Alexander Zeldin’s play Love, tells the story of a middle-aged man, (Nick Holder) and his elderly mum (Anna Calder-Marshall), a young family with a baby on the way and a newly arrived woman from Sudan find themselves forced to live together.

Unemployed Dean (Luke Clarke) and his pregnant partner (Janet Eluk) have two young children and a baby on their way, so they’re more than desperate to move out of the shared accommodation.

Many of the heart-warming scenes take place when we see these very different characters try to compromise with each other when it comes to sharing such a cramped space.

When the two immigrants played by Mimi Malaz Bashir, and a man from Syria, played by Waj Ali, converse with each other in their own language, you get a strong sentiment of what they’re saying – how it feels to connect with someone in your own language when you are thousands of miles away from home.

For three nights, the Queen’s Theatre transformed their stage into an auditorium to provide an intimate setting for their showing of Love.

The magic of the play is revealed in the small moments - an older woman remembering playing in the nativity while hearing a young girl sing, or a woman accepting that she was using the wrong cup and returning it to the rightful owner.

In one memorable scene, Colin washes his mother’s hair in the shared sink in the kitchen.

In the space of five minutes, I went from feeling horrified at the unhygienic use of the sink, to laughing at the hilarity of the moment, to feeling angry that an elderly woman should be stuck in these circumstances for so long.

The simple everyday movements of people living in temporary accommodation makes for a captivating drama.

Love has been filmed and a shorter version of the play will be broadcast on BBC Two in December.


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