Luv at Park Theatre
What is love? Where can we find meaning in life? What does it take to achieve happiness? These are all questions thrown in the air and then shot down in ridicule by Murray Schisgal’s absurdist comedy, Luv. Taking place on a bridge in New York, the play introduces us to Harry, a disillusioned failure who has lost faith in the world and has come to the bridge to end it all. Just as he is poised to jump into the dark water below, Milt walks by, a charismatic businessman and, as it turns out, one of Harry’s childhood friends. Reunited after 15 years, the audience soon learns the reality of how miserable both characters really are and Milt quickly hatches a plan to solve all their problems: introduce Harry to his wife Ellen so that he can run away with his mistress and they can all be happy.
The absurdist nature of the piece makes it initially difficult to adjust to as the lines are blurred between drama and comedy and the humour becomes increasingly physical and ridiculous. However, Luv is directed in a way that isn’t too overwhelming and the actors instantly create a bond with the audience making it easy to settle into the tone of the piece. The production values as well as the script have a strong Broadway influence with sudden spotlights appearing and singing and dancing interludes, firmly setting us in 1960s America.
With a number of issues being raised in an obscure fashion, it is surely not expected that the spectators fully understand everything that’s going on. The absurdity of modern life is explored, examining how society puts pressure on relationships and how people put pressure on themselves as a result. The characters constantly question their purpose in life and react with dramatic self-indulgence to the problems they are faced with, desperately searching for answers that can’t be found. Whilst all three actors play with an infectious enthusiasm and desperation, Elsie Bennett excels in the role of Ellen, with her struggle to survive as a feminist in a world that expects her to be interested solely in being a wife and mother.
Poking fun at stereotypes and the preoccupations of the human race, the themes presented in Luv are still as soberingly relevant today as when it first opened in 1964. An intimate revival of the original play, this production is unique, energetic and definitely worth checking out during its run at Park Theatre.
Luv is at Park Theatre from 8th December 2016 until 7th January 2017, for further information or to book visit here.