Forgive me for diving straight in – but do you love yourself? I would hope that at least you think you are deserving of love?
It is a bit weird isn’t it, to be addressed by a stranger about something so big and yet so personal. My bumbling opening is the complete opposite of what I experience when I walk in (somewhat harassed because I am running late) to a beautifully decorated and low-lit shipping container at the end of Lower Marsh and into a self-described ‘Love In’.
During ‘Love in’, Amanda Grace invites you to sit opposite her, offers you a hot drink of your choice and then begins.
The interaction that follows is a thoughtful conversation about what brought you to the show and whatever else you might want to talk about. Amanda Grace is a good listener and also shares titbits about her life.
The questions she asks do not feel intrusive – it’s like catching up with an old friend who is genuinely interested in what you have been up to. She doesn’t mention the word love once.
Love is something we could not live without – it’s hard to pin down and write about – and this is the magic in ‘Love In’.
The show gives you an experience of love by paying attention to you. It is not all one way – in giving of herself as well, Amanda Grace makes love feel like a welcome exchange. In the spell that she weaves, I forget that a key part of the show is the love letter she presents you with at the end.
How did she write it while we were speaking? I didn’t see her hands move. When I leave the container, I glance at my watch and only 15 minutes have passed. It felt like an hour-long show. In my hand a wax sealed envelope to remind me later that it really did happen.
VAULT Festival 2023 runs Tuesday 24th January to Sunday 19th March, full listings and ticket information can be found here.
This review was written by a participant of the VAULT Festival New Critics Programme in partnership with Theatre Weekly. For more information about the VAULT Festival New Critics Programme, and all of our 2023 participants, please visit: https://vaultfestival.com/new-critics-programme/