This Little Life of Mine, Park90, review: ‘beautifully delivered, warm observational comedy’

11:15 14 October 2016

This Little Life of Mine with James Robinson and Kate Batter. Picture: Charlie Round-Turner

This Little Life of Mine with James Robinson and Kate Batter. Picture: Charlie Round-Turner

© Charlie JH Round-Turner, 2016. Moral rights asserted.

Michael Yale has assembled all the ingredients for a fine work but somehow lost sight of what he was trying to say.

A capacity Park90 audience was well entertained by this charming piece about a young couple setting up home in London and trying to start a family.

This Little Life of Mine is a musical with a song for every scene: some raucously funny, some torch songs, ballads and simple love songs but all beautifully delivered - especially by Izzy (played and sung with confidence and a lovely voice by Kate Batter).

The work is a four hander with Izzy and her partner Jonesy (James Robinson) as the central couple.

They are brilliantly supported by Caroline Margaret (playing four characters, memorably Tina, the hard-bitten, hard-drinking, don’t-need-a-man-to-validate-myself Aussie) and Greg Barnett (also four characters including trainee barista Raphael who has the most outrageous Spanish accent since Fawlty Towers’ Manuel).

The play was billed as “a bitingly funny and deeply touching tour of modern London” and was certainly funny – but certainly not biting.

This is no satire but a warm observational comedy that nails various types: tart with a heart Tina, camp barman, passive-aggressive parents, a couple of sleazy swingers.

The opening scene shows how hard it is to get on the housing ladder in London and the terrible compromises this generation must make.

But that was about as far as we got – what followed could have been about any couple in any English city.

Against all this is Izzy’s preoccupation to get pregnant: plenty of discussion about ovulation, cycles and mucous, lazy sperm and disappointing pregnancy tests.

She thinks she has conceived but it is a false alarm. This could have prompted an interesting examination of the role of men, expectations of and by women, grieving, independence, fidelity, lifelong relationships – all touched on but developed only briefly.

Michael Yale has assembled all the ingredients for a fine work but somehow lost sight of what he was trying to say.

Little Life is well worth pursuing, but with a refocus.

Rating: 3/5 stars


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