Over the past week Tandanya Theatre, a mere two-minute walk from our beloved Garden of Unearthly Delights, has been host to some engaging pieces of Fringe pie. One of these pieces is Love/Hate Actually: a unique mix of theatre and comedy written and performed by Amy Currie and Natalie Bochenski. The crux of it? Simply, a discussion about whether we love or hate one of the most iconic films of our time, Love Actually. This is not a complex performance proposal, nor was it performed on an extragenetic set; however, it is a genius idea.
The subject matter alone welcomes a wide demographic. Alongside regular Fringe supporters, citizens of Adelaide who may not be avid theatre goers will find Love/Hate Actually a welcoming way into the venues and excitement of the Adelaide Fringe. As Love Actually is such an anchor in our film and specifically rom-com culture, there are very few people that this show will exclude: whether you like the film or not, you will find this night to be a hoot.
Our enthusiastic performers use a slide show with pictures, charts and videos to break down Love Actually for us. The minimalist set, with just a Santa hat or two on stage if anything ,enabled our performers as the witty, charming and highly relevant humour was enough to fill the space alongside their physical and bold deliveries. Amy and Natalie are intensely invested in their performances, undoubtedly committed and offer an infectious energy. Keeping us on our toes, the show consisted of a range of entertaining skits. There were quirky characters, cheeky send ups and Amy decked out as a Love Actually religious icon – rather clever as this film for many has come to define Christmas, in some ways replacing the original nativity story. From the audiences’ perspective, their performances make it very easy for us to drop our critical guards and be taken along on this highly enjoyable ride. There was genuine laughter from the audience all the way through the hour-long performance, which I believe says it all.
This was, at points, an interactive piece of theatre. Now, don’t go getting anxious. The idea of audience participation often makes us edgy as many attempts to involve us are awkward and uncomfortable. I have to say that Amy and Natalie’s facilitation of audience participation was highly successful, and extremely funny. We were asked to distinguish between Art and Porn and to undertake a fast-paced recap of appropriate office etiquette, yet this was all supported and well-written. Amy and Natalie appeared to have extensive experience behind them and a fantastic onstage and off-stage relationship, making their request for audience involvement all the more non-threatening.
This show will make both cynics and lovers of everyone, and its conclusion (with a sneaky musical number) will leave you feeling rather jolly. I encourage anyone and everyone who is seeking a hearty and warming chuckle to nab some tickets over the next three nights. There is a lot to love about this show, and really nothing to hate.
Hats off to Amy and Natalie for putting together such an engaging and passion filled piece of work! They throw their hearts into it, so go willing to throw yours (literally).
Words by Michelle Wakim
Love/Hate Actually is playing at Tandanya February 22-24. Tickets available here.