Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
11:00 AM 18th May 2021

Plenty Of Bite In This Homage To Love

It was an inspired choice by York Theatre Royal to invite local townsfolk to lift the curtain on this latest post lockdown re-opening, with a series of ‘love bites’: short performances centred around life, love and connection in the city.

And, as you might imagine, it produced funny, political and cryptic moments that delivered nigh on two and a half hours of intrigue, where nothing was long enough to be either boring, overly challenging or, indeed, too entertaining!

But taken as a whole, this was a thoroughly worthwhile evening and most enjoyable if, at times, baffling!

The woke brigade made ‘its’, ‘them’, ‘their’ appearance with a lockdown inspired non-binary poem – not one of my favourites because I only have a limited number of sighs in my body and they ran out a long time ago – but, like bad medicine, it was over quickly and the true talent shined.

Casting the net wide for performers is a double-edged sword – there were some 200 applicants for a slot on the main stage. On the one hand you get those people who desperately need a ‘platform’ and, at best, they can deliver 5-10 minutes of ‘message’ based performance.

But, equally, there are those dancers, singers and comedians who, you know, could give a ‘show’ if called on to do so.

And so it was last night which, perhaps, was the production’s strength for everything kept moving: the good, the bad, the ugly and the excellent.

The lovely tones of Toby Gordon kicked off proceedings with his rendition of WH Auden’s O Tell Me The Truth About Love, and The Art of Losing by dance students Luella Rebbeck, Jamie Marshall-White and Isla Bowles was excellent whilst Alice Boddy’s and Leanne Hope’s A Love Letter To Female Friendship, was joyous and full of fun.
Cassie Vallance and Janet-Emily Bruce of Story Craft Theatre
Cassie Vallance and Janet-Emily Bruce of Story Craft Theatre
Claire Spooner’s MISE EN ABY-ME left me baffled but it was well cheered so someone ‘got it’ and Cassie Vallance and Janet-Emily Bruce of Story Craft Theatre demonstrated genuine creativity illustrating to an audience of adults why children will, no doubt, love them.

In total there were 22 individual performances, some I loved, some I didn’t but, taken as a whole, this was a great evening and 10 out of 10 to York Theatre Royal for taking a unique approach by passing the reins over to the ‘locals’.

Love Bites
York Theatre Royal
Tonight 8pm