May 01

‘Almost a love story’ looks at the diversity of love

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

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Lunchbox Theatre’s Almost A Love Story by Calgary Sun theatre critic Louis B Hobson, opens up the conversation about the nature of love. How it falls between the lines of trust and betrayal, how it nurtures the roots of relationships, and why we love some people and not others. The issue that rears its head in the narrative that is most striking, is the idea of legitimate love: love in secret and love goes into the realm of adultery. Is that still love?

The play tells the story Daniel (Joe Perry) who is trying to find out answer about who his father, David, (Christopher Hunt) really was. He seeks out David’s old colleague Callum (Frank Zotter), as he knows that they were old friends. Callum winds up working with Daniel on his mologues to apply for the National Theatre School and it is revealed that David and Callum had a romantic relationship. Daniel’s mom Ellie, (Lindsay Burns) starts to ask questions when Daniel starts to spent a lot of time working with Callum on his audition. It’s all a bit of a twisted web that entangles each character, except for Callum’s friend Henry, gleefully played by Hal Kerbes, who watches it all and provides broadway song-commentary.

The play is told in a flashback style sometimes and works and sometimes doesn’t under Pamela Halstead’s direction. Callum will be telling Henry about how he ran into Daniel on campus and the scene will flashback to their conversation. Or Callum will be telling Daniel about how he met David, and the scene will play out on stage. Characters don’t really freeze if they aren’t a part of the flashback, they kind of watch it as it unfolds. This proves to be a bit awkward as characters walk up to the scene, instead of the narrative changing to that scene. This style works really well when both scenes overlap, as when Ellie is talking to Daniel about how much time he is spending in Calgary working on his monologues, and it’s the same conversation she had with her diseased husband, and we see David talking about taking his classes in Calgary, when he’s really spending time with Callum.

The play features some great performances, namely Burns as Ellie and Zotter playing the tortured Callum. Hunt is solid as David, but there is a missing spark and chemistry between Zotter and Hunt. It seems a little hard to believe that they were involved romantically. Kerbes clearly is having a grand time playing Henry, costumed in a silk bathrobe the whole time and gesturing flamboyantly, but the character himself is grating.

Almost A Love Story deals with the diversity of love and this is most illustrated in a poignant scene in the play. Ellie comes to speak to Callum about his involvement with her son and in this explosion of emotion she accuses him of being an intruder and only thinking that he loved David, but not actually loving him. ‘I shared my husband with you didn’t I?’ she asks. It’s the kicker scene in the play, backed by an outstanding performance by Burns, and it presents all sides of the equation, except for David’s, who in this case, should really be the one answering questions. We see how sharing her husband has hurt Ellie, but we also see how not having any closure has tortured Callum. It’s almost a love story, but not quite.

Almost A Love Story runs at Lunchbox Theatre until May 18th. Tickets and more information is available online.

Photo Credit: Hal Kerbes as Henry, Frank Zotter as Callum, Christopher Hunt as David and Joe Perry as Daniel in Almost a Love Story by Louis B. Hobson. Photo by Benjamin Laird.


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