A Simple Tale of Love Review

Pleasance Theatre, London

Reviewed by Debra Stottor


Credit: David Shackle 

They met in an alley in Bogget-on-Sea, and life was never the same again for this oddest of odd couples. This is a love story with a difference, as you might expect from a piece that’s being staged as part of London Horror Festival. It’s surreal and supernatural, but at heart, it’s about longing, passion and humanity.

It’s the tale of Molly, with her dreadful job and even more dreadful colleagues, dumped by her vicar husband for another woman. Salsa was her first love – and has been the one thing to bring joy to her life. She’s hankering to return to her ‘happy place’. Her dream (nightmare?) man is the mysterious man in black, JD (Mr de Mon, as he calls himself). He makes a mean apple turnover, but doesn’t like to be touched and refuses to take his hat off indoors. Her colleagues refuse to believe he exists.

The attraction appears to be one way, but the reason is revealed when he finally removes his hat and shows his more demonic, but ultimately more caring side. The power of salsa wins out, but it’s bittersweet.

They say revenge is a dish served cold, but pineapple rings and potato chips do a great job here… to say any more would be giving away the plot.

A love story based in fantasy, this is played with both emotion and humour: it feels real, despite the sinister undertones, and this is down to the strength of Sasha Ravencroft’s script and the portrayal of the characters.

As a two-hander in a minimalist set, the performances of both players are vital and here Helen Walling-Richards as Molly outshone Daniel Singh Pabla as JD (though he did a mean salsa), who seemed slightly nervous, which meant some of the humour was lost. All in all, this compact piece, at 60 minutes, is a nicely rounded tale that played well in the intimate space at Islington’s Pleasance Theatre.

London Horror Festival is now in its tenth year, with pieces from the genre playing across the capital for the two weeks running up to Hallowe’en.