(Performed in August 2018 – Review published in November 2018)
There is a place for melodrama in the theatrical world, but it is perhaps the easiest style of drama to mess up. I myself have flubbed melodrama with a fringe show before now (you live and learn), and know how tawdry and painful things can get if you’re not careful.
Oh my, was Love on a Blue Canvas ever such a show. It was almost ridiculous in it’s level of clumsy overdone, mopey, emotion. It laid on the melodrama so thick the actors were practically a few inches off the stage. And it sadly had none of the self-awareness you’d need to make that work. Every single character was utterly unlikable, with the possible exception of Liza Greenhalgh’s character, who I believe was called ‘Georgie’ or something similar (it’s been a couple months, forgive me). Unlikable characters are all well and good, but they have to be compelling in their unlikability. Most of the characters in this piece felt unlikable in a way that alienated rather than engaged the audience.
The dialogue was riddled with cliche and unconvincing declarations, that needed a lot of cleaning up. There were also some odd choices in terms of scene changes, with two stagehands who seemed superfluous and sometimes to have very little idea what they were doing. The plot also, while having some initial promise, became agonisingly slow and dreary as things went on, with me not feeling not sure how many more scenes I could sit through of the artist just moping about and being a dick to everyone. It felt much much longer than its time-slot, and it’s never a good sign when you’re praying for a show to just please end. I wasn’t praying for death, as I have with some shows, so it could have been worse, I suppose.
There was a certain charm in there, I have to admit, but largely this piece was unfortunately sluggish and emotionally unconvincing.