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REVIEW: Three Acts of Love at Newcastle Live Theatre

 Three Acts of Love

Newcastle Live Theatre

Until Saturday 16 December 2023

Three very different plays have been bundled together. Each one is a response to the word 'love'. Each play is brought alive by three actors that adapt to the different tone of each piece. Over the top is live music from The JoWhereToGo Show Podcast favourite Jayne Dent aka Me Lost Me who adds to the atmosphere.

The Start of Space by Laura Lindow

Dr McGill (Imogen Stubbs) appears on stage to present a lecture to junior doctors on her specialism -The Heart. After establishing herself to the audience by singing the praise of Newcastle in winter, she starts discussing the workings of the heart as a diagram is held up. But soon she starts to trail off. The story then introduces her son Rory (Rebecca Glendenning-Laycock), who is heading off to university and a cardiac patient simply described as Child (Laila Zaidi). The Child is complicating matters by refusing treatment and Dr McGill is so busy that she is struggling to make time for her son.

The audience find themselves joining the doctor on her journey on the matters of the heart. In a fairly short piece one finds oneself with a number of questions about the characters onstage and those referred to offstage too (where is the child's mother for example?).

Laila is a wonderful supporting actor as the egocentric seven year old that is clearly a product of her upbringing.

The result is an intriguing piece as you are left filling in the gaps yourself. This isn't a bad thing as each person will have their own, perfectly valid, take on it. There is always that temptation to fill in every gap and tidy each sub-plot - but it is nice to be given the opportunity to reflect and come up with our own ideas.

fangirl, or the justification of limerence by Naomi Obeng 

Clara is a fan. A massive fan. The sort of fan who would rather spend time watching the online queue go down so she can be merchandise rather than risking boarding a train work a weekend with the boyfriend as the risk of poor wi-fi risks missing out. The thing is that the purchase also leads to an intimate gig with their idol - referred throughout as "God".

This play looks at fandom, celebrity and the role of social media in propagating the passions between fans.

Whilst the play text makes it clear that this is not based upon any alive or dead, the fact of the matter is that many fans gain a one-sided, unreciprocated sense of a relationship with celebrities. In fact the Oxford dictionary has just added a word for this in 2023 - "parasocial." The fan will defend their idol against all comers no matter what else comes to light.

Whilst this is fiction, the play covers a scenario that has happened a few times over recent years as keyboard warriors test each others loyalty - even at the expense of the apparent reality.

with the love of neither god nor state by Vici Wreford-Sinnott

The rich variety of topics is shown by the different nature of the third play. Whereas the previous play was anywhere as it was online - this show focusses upon a closing working men's club. A place that has entertained members, and bona-fide guests, for 70 years but it is now closing as there is no longer any demand for it. However their is demand for the repurposed building as it reopens as a foodbank.
This show does not hide from the politics. The lack of support for many members of our society by this shitshow of a government.

Set in the fictional west end Newcastle region of Northvale, the script paints a familiar landscape through the clever use of dialogue between the clubs matriarchal figure of Thea as she manages the venues transition and Greta. Greta has spent a life in care and has found herself, at the age of 21, exploring her world for the first time. She may officially be disabled as a neurodivergent individual but she is not, by any stretch of the imagination either defined by her condition nor is she a tragic person. Rebecca does an incredible job as Greta as she doesn't have the luxury of having her needs spelt out for the audience ("There is information on this card about me" - but the audience never get to read this card). Her physical demeanour and direct way of speaking help create a real person without the need of exposition. 

Add in Imogen's caring Greta into the mix and the result is a thought provoking collision of two worlds. This is a powerful piece of theatre that does not give any answers. Rather it holds up a mirror to the collapse of support. It resonated with my partner as we've had dealings both with a struggling social club (with a location oddly marked on the walk along the Tyne, by a spire, too), and the difficulties of neurodivergence, and a family member who has helped at a food bank.

This show, or more accurately, these three shows, keep the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. Three wonderful actors play a variety of characters in a range of tales that are very different from one another. Skilled writing and tight direction give the audience a chance to walk in someone else's shoes. It was one of those shows that had us chatting on the way home. We saw something different in each piece - we had a different favourite. This is a powerful end to our drama 2023.

Review: Stephen Oliver

Photos: Mark Savage


Imogen Stubbs

Rebecca Glendenning-Laycock

Laila Zaidi

Creative & Production Team

Laura Lindow - writer The Start of Space

Naomi Obeng - writer Fangirl

Vici Wreford-Sinnott - writer with the love of neither god nor state

Jack McNamara - Co-Director

Bex Bowsher - Co-Director

Amy Watts - Set & Costume Designer

Me Lost Me - Score, Live Music & Sound

Alicia Meehan - Movement

Drummond Orr - Lighting Designer & Production Manager


To book go to or call Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.


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