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Don't Tell Me the Truth About Love
Julia Hicks's adaptation of Dan Rhodes's short stories offers an alternative to Valentine's day mush, but suffers from unsatisfactory scripting
Claire L Jarvis
Tuesday, 26 February, 2008 | 22:01
Don't tell me the truth about love
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Don’t Tell Me The Truth About Love is the stage adaptation of a collection of short stories by Dan Rhodes, exploring the difficulties encountered by people in love. The play interlinks three of the stories: a young man who becomes entranced by a beautiful landfill aficionado (Katy Bartholomew); the 801st lover of one-eyed Coquettita (Emily Prince) who believes that the only way this one can finally understand her is to remove one of his own; and the fair peasant girl Consuela (Camilla Higgins) who marries a rich man and seeks to prove that he loves her and not her appearance by ridding herself of her beauty.

But there's a problem in that all the stories seem to have a very similar theme – that of a woman testing the love of a man to breaking point. Perhaps a more varied selection from the original works might have created a better-rounded play and tell more of the truths about love.

Because of the nature of the script it is hard to feel empathy towards the main female protagonists Coquettita and Consuela, who both come across as irrationally insecure and inconsiderate – Consuela’s continual exclamations of “you don’t really love me!” in the end cause the audience to marvel at the patience of her husband more than sympathise with her uncertainty. The most mysterious and interesting female is the protagonist and narrator Maria. Filled with eccentric enthusiasm about waste disposal and a simple innocence that is well carried, she establishes much more of a connection with the audience.

Regretfully there is little work for the male leads other than to look bemused and distraught at varying intervals when confronted with this melodrama.

It is the source material that lets this show down: a lot can be said for the acting, set and brief flashes of humour. Perhaps this reviewer is simply not feeling the love at this time of year. But if you wanting a break from the stereotypical mush surrounding 14 February then certainly give Don’t Tell Me the Truth About Love a shot.

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