Firstly, I would like to start by saying how much I admire and am grateful to, anyone creating theatre at this time, and, whilst I am thoroughly enjoying the volume of live and pre-recorded streams available to watch on my television, the concept of Love Down The Line means that this is the first time since September that I have experienced a live, in-person, performance.
Of course, in-person does mean down the telephone rather than in an actual theatre, but there is a lot to be said for experiencing a performance as it is meant to be experienced, without the barrier of a screen. It adds a certain intensity that is missed when you stream something. I would recommend closing your eyes to listen though, otherwise, it does feel a bit too surreal.
I was a bit worried that theatre performed down the phone to just me would feel awkward or uncomfortable but I am pleased to say I was largely mistaken. I heard two of the four monologues to be performed by Sophia Hatfield and Ollie Smith throughout their run, who both bought their characters to life in such a way as I was able to clearly picture the scene I found myself in. Both performances were very funny, especially the first about a woman coming home to find her husband dressed up in the bedroom (I will say no more so as not to ruin the surprise). Being the only person hearing the play, I missed the shared experience of laughing together in an auditorium, but since that is not an option right now, maybe this was the next best thing.
The second performance was tinged with the sadness that I am sure many of us are feeling at theatres being closed – the character being an actor who was supposed to be in Shakespeare until COVID closed theatres, and who hasn’t been able to see his boyfriend as much as he wishes. Whilst I am lucky that my job and my relationship haven’t been affected by COVID in this way, I felt the character’s sadness especially keenly when the performance ended with a Shakespeare sonnet that I was considering as a reading at my now postponed wedding. I suspect that all listeners will have at least one moment from this story which resonates with them.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed both performances and huge credit must be given to both actors and also Jack McNamara, the artistic director, for creating such an effective and creative piece of theatre in very difficult circumstances.
Review by Emily Diver
145 years since its first appearance, our love affair with the telephone continues to grow.
And at a time where we all need love and connection more than ever, New Perspectives has teamed up with award-winning rural theatre-maker Sophia Hatfield to offer a series of short love-themed plays to be performed live down the telephone over Valentine’s weekend to the person of your choice.
Book a time and you or your loved one will receive a five-minute play performed just for them by phone. The perfect Valentine’s gift for the special person in your life, a drama lover or anyone in need of a touch of romance.
Pick up the phone and let the drama unfold…
New Perspectives in association with Stute Theatre presents:
Love Down the Line
Bite-sized plays performed live down the phone over Valentine’s weekend
Created by Sophia Hatfield and Jack McNamara
Performed by Sophia Hatfield and Ollie Smith
Performed every 15 minutes 13 February 2pm – 9.45pm | 14 February 11am – 8.45pm
13 & 14 February (56 performances)
13 February, every quarter-hour from 2pm – 9.45pm | 14 February, every quarter-hour from 11am – 8.45pm
Performed by Sophia Hatfield on the hour and half-hour, performed by Ollie Smith at quarter past and a quarter to
£5 | https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/