This production is a Stage Must-See

Dirty Great Love Story

Pleasance Dome

Theatre Reviewed by Nick Awde

Girl breaks up with boyfriend, girl visits club with mates. Boy has no girlfriend, boy goes to club with mates. Girl and boy meet. Girl and boy drink, and the frosty morning after the sticky night before leads to a will-they-won’t-they romp through the social fixtures and well-meaning friends threatening to reunite the pair. With shades of Four Weddings and a Funeral, this is a thoroughly modern love story with all the 'aah' factor of a traditional romance, brilliantly funny with lots of heart.

Katie Bonna puts in a simply dazzling performance as the chirpy ‘Katie’ who won’t admit that she’s found what she’s looking for. Bonna also effortlessly captures the comic quirks of the other women in the story, notably the overbearing no-nonsense girlfriend – we all know one, don’t we? – who, much as Katie would like her to be wrong, isn’t.

As his namesake, Richard Marsh is gawky but certainly not an unattractive catch – by Richard’s own admission, instead of going with the flow he just thinks a bit too much. Marsh also transforms startlingly Richard’s blokey best mate and his smarmy Old Etonian rival.

While his stage presence is not the most fluid around, in this case it ends up perfectly complementing Bonna’s bundle of energy.

Bonna and Marsh’s success also rests on their own tight script and Pia Furtado’s focused direction, the latter giving her actors the confidence to launch off and juggle characters between them with a precision that never misses the beat, confidently earning deserved laughs or aahs of sympathy with every faux pas of the star-crossed lovers. Equally successful is fusing the wickedly spot-on dialogue of the characters with the dreamy and often ryhmed verse of the narrative sections.

While fringe duets can be gimmicky (not a bad thing, mind), this is an enviable showcase for that theatrical hat-trick of writing, directing, performing. All the more so considering that it is accomplished on a bare stage. Given the magic of this Edinburgh run, the rest of the nation deserves to hear Katie and Richard’s story.

Published online
Review by
Nick Awde
Produced by
Polly Ingham, Richard Marsh, Katie Bonna
Richard Marsh, Katie Bonna
Pia Furtado
Running time
1 hour 10 minutes
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