The performances in To Fall In Love are totally captivating. They are full of feeling while displaying an astonishing naturalism that makes you feel that you are with this emotionally scarred couple in their flat witnessing their fragile attempt at reconciliation. The performances of Beth Gallagher and Eric Casalini are rich in detail and deep in feeling and are never indulgent.
The spark between these two actors is so impressive as they allow the other to shine without ever dulling their own performance. Each player has a depth of intention and focused motivation that slowly reveals their present dilemma and rather brilliantly exposes the wounds and insecurities of old.
The estranged husband and wife meet at his lonesome flat to have another go at patching things up, this time using a quiz about compatibility that had been published in the New York Times. The 37 questions are designed to to make strangers fall in love. However, they are not strangers and their problems are many but slowly the task exposes the reason for their fractured relationship and despite their gaping emotional wounds there is a sense of love and need.
The couple have been derailed by tragic events but finding a way back on track proves difficult. Each bares their emotional scars as they talk of aspiration and reconciliation but this in turn throws up further causes for concern. It is a splendid dramatic device to use the quiz questions as it releases tension at times and also provides humour and of course highlights a new topic of discourse which allows for a change of direction. The play hurtles along with a searing intensity at times – full credit to both players. Gallagher and Casalini’s performances are detailed and delightfully nuanced as they struggle to communicate the reasons to love and to stay together or agonisingly fall apart. Can we accept second best, can we love with pain and disappointment and can we rekindle love without forgetting the reason why we hate – all this we are to consider as we navigate with them the pain of our realities.
Jeneric Melpomene productions have created this wonderfully observed grown up complex world of emotions with its peaks and troughs of love and despair, captured brilliantly by the writer, Jennifer Lane. To Fall in Love really is a ‘Best of the Fest’ and you should not miss it. Lane’s dialogue is so real, simultaneously intimate and fractured. The writing is evocative as it teases and echoes memories of familiarity and comfort as well as of pain and emptiness. Loss is explored in every level of life; loss of partner, of self and clearly of love and yet there seems to be flashes of hope. Fleeting though it may be, the things we have in common may not fully bind us together but perhaps they may patch us up.
With high quality performances and writing that impacts on the heart as well as the mind this production is ‘ a festival must see’!
Greenside @ Infirmary Street – Olive Studio
22:05 – Aug 16-17, 19-24