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Isabella James

Review: FAST LOVE at Theatre 503

Fast Love Fast Love follows the life story of Rory from bursting out of the womb to a party-popping fanfare right up until his much less ceremonious quarter century crisis. Rory realises he is gay aged 7 years old when he develops a crush on his bully/best-friend. He speaks candidly to the audience about his first sexual experience with a girl; an awkward seven minutes in ‘heaven’ and then relives a heartbreakingly confusing encounter with an older boy from school in the backseat of his car.

His life and his relationship with his sexuality is not an easy pill to swallow, nor is this play giving any kind of clarity to what it means to accept yourself. It is simply a story, and a beautifully told one at that.

Rory was played by Matthew Bunn who had the audience in the palm of his hand from the off. Entering the stage but re-entering when he deemed his response wasn’t good enough set the tone for an actor totally in control. He played the part with such likeability, it felt like an intimate chat with an old friend. However, Bunn was not alone on stage. The decision to have a second presence in the room was a fantastic addition which added a new dimension to every scene. ‘The Man’ played by Sven Ironside was like a moth flitting around Rory’s life, entering into his narrative as whatever person or thought Rory needed to demonstrate. Ironside’s physical capability allowed this constant, clownish energy to keep the monologue vivacious and visual.

Although there is pain in this play, trapped beautifully into Bunn’s performance, it is also a celebration. The stage is literally littered with balloons and the soundtrack is reminisce of a 00’s house party. There was plenty to laugh at and a lot to relate to; WKD and internet dial-up tones were some strong throwbacks for example. The play balanced the coin of humour and tragedy perfectly enough to see how linked the two really are.

Fast Love was written by Jack Albert Cook and directed by Monty Leigh, collectively known as ‘Stupid Love Theatre’, a company committed to telling LGBTQ+ stories. The story told on stage during Fast Love is a perfect example of why these experiences need to be shared. As Rory said, we don’t learn about this kind of stuff in school, we come into life completely raw. Although this is one man’s story, the writing had a completely universal feel and touched on issues that affect all of us; man, woman, straight, gay, happy, sad and all of those ‘other’ in-betweens.