Dirty Great Love Story has been in the works since 2012, the metaphorical child of comedic poets Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna. Performed by the writers in Soho and New York amongst other fringe events, Dirty Great Love Story makes its full West End debut, presented as the story of how they met. It’s fair to say that some events have been changed for dramatic effect.
Ostensibly a feel-good romcom, the trials of Katie, a recently single woman heading into her 30s, and Richard, a shy geek who’s perennially unlucky in love, start with an awkward one night stand. Falling in cocktail fuelled lust with each other at a combined stag and hen party held at the tackiest nightclub in Bristol, their romace seems over before it’s begun until they find out just how small their worlds are.
From there on Katie and Richard’s courtship is a whirlwind of unsuitable partners, cringeworthy encounters and festival disappointments. Large chunks of the show are performed in rhyme, with plenty of witty one liners to keep even ardent poem-phobes chuckling along.
For this production, Katie and Richard are played by Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott respectively. Both actors are incredibly likeable presences and switch characters effortlessly on the fly. Ayesha’s over-the-top portrayal of Cece in particular never fails to delight. And Felix Scott manages to keep Richard’s boyish charm on the right side of enthusiastic.
Like I said at the start, this is an unashamedly feel good romantic comedy. The two leads battle with circumstance, over eager friends and their own baggage. The minimal stage design becomes transformative at times. And carrying on with the feel-good theme, the soundtrack leans towards nostalgia period du jour, the 90s (on a personal note, I can’t not love anything that features an Orbital album track!) You’ll see where all this madness is heading within the first five minutes but that won’t stop you from thoroughly enjoying this wonderful journey. Book your tickets to Dirty Great Love Story now.
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