Love/Hate Actually Brisbane Review @ Wonderland Festival

Published in Arts News  
Presented by Act/React Theatre in partnership with the Brisbane Powerhouse, ‘Love/Hate Actually’ is now playing as part of Wonderland Festival.

The premise of the show is that best friends Amy and Natalie take opposing views on the film ‘Love Actually’ and have for several years. They’ve now reached an impasse and are presenting to the audience why you should love or hate the movie.

‘Love Actually’ particularly for certain generations has become a perennial Christmas favourite to watch since its initial cinematic release back in 2003. Such a beloved classic from the mind of Richard Curtis who brought you ‘Four Weddings And A Funeral’ and ‘Bridget Jones's Diary’ couldn’t possibly have any flaws. So Natalie, it would seem, as someone who hates the film, has her work cut out for her.

Part film lecture, part quiz show and part comedy, ‘Love/Hate Actually’ whether it is laugh-out-loud or mere smirk-inducing is always whip-smart. Some line deliveries delight in how they’re just delivered as a casual aside not even concerned with being noticed. At other times the pair go for the big moments whether it is Amy decked out in a brilliant Christmas Pope costume or a recreation of one of the film’s pivotal scenes shot here in New Farm projected up on a big screen.

Clearly a lot of work has gone into the dissection of the film and the preparation of the hour-long material complete with pie charts. Yet the two stars with a decade of performance work behind them, including improvisational theatre, knew when to make the most of unexpected moments. Their rapport with the audience was infectious, effortlessly eliciting “boo”s and “aww”s as well as laughs. They also got audience volunteers up on stage to participate. Two doing a re-enactment seemed too talented in their roles to be merely a coincidence whereas a third showed some natural promise when roped into playing a game of ‘Art Or Porn?’

Lovers and Haters of ‘Love Actually’ will both feel vindicated after watching the performance and both may also come to see it in a new light. As for who wins the debate, well that will depend on the audience that night. But it is Christmas and I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.

'Love/Hate Actually' plays at Brisbane Powerhouse until 3 December.

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