Love All ★★★★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Sep 8 - Oct 8, 2022

Dorothy L. Sayers knew how to tell a good story, with lots of unexpected twists and turns. Mostly known for her crime fiction, she proves with Love All that she can also write a thoroughly enjoyable farce. Godfrey Daybrook, delightfully played by Alan Cox, is a romantic novelist who is actually a victim of his own unrealistic fiction. He casts himself as the central character in his own love story and sees all the women in his life as mere adjuncts to his genius. When his mistress, Lydia, decides that being a muse is less interesting than being a working actress, and when his wife, Edith, decides that a career as a playwright is more rewarding than playing housewife, Godfrey's vanity and self-absorption are hilariously exposed. The target of most great farces is hypocrisy, and in this case, Sayers' does an excellent job of skewering her target. She successfully uses laughter, rather than preaching, to expose the importance of work for personal fulfillment and to advance the cause of female empowerment. All of the cast do a fine job of catching the brittle humour and stylised surface of the piece. Emily Barber is terrific as the bored and petulant Lydia, and Leah Whitaker is superb as the hausfrau who has transformed herself into a playwright. The scene in which they discuss who will actually end up with the egocentric Godfrey is a classic. Kudos also to Bethan Cullinane and Karen Ascoe whose wonderfully comic creations hit just the right notes. Director, Tom Littler, has done a fine job of getting the flavour of this confection just right. He extracts every moment of humour from the work and doesn't belabour Sayers' message. In this production, the queen of crime is confirmed as being equally successful as a sophisticated and amusing writer for the theatre.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Steve Gregson.

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