Reviewer: Emily Hall
James Rowland doesn’t need any frills to make you laugh and cry. A Hundred Different Words for Love is storytelling at its finest: beautiful, simple, funny, and utterly engaging.
Listen to Rowland tell a “completely fictional” story about a girl, poignantly and hilariously revealing all of the small details and complex emotions that relationships live and die by.
Within this story is an even more moving one, about two old friends: supportive and in love. Sarah and Emma’s love story unfolds discreetly and touchingly, told from the vantage point of their couch where Rowland finds comfort and shelter at his worst moments. These arresting snapshots of friendship and love form a powerful basis for the rest of the show.
Watching Rowland speak in this intimate venue is a privilege. Scene by scene, moment by moment experience life and love in London, full of witty observations and powerful articulations of the human experience.
Top-notch observational comedy is made more potent by context: Rowland seamlessly transitions from humour to hope. He effortlessly brings out the comedy in even the most tragic moments. His every word is persuasive. His performance captures the ways that these moments can contain laughter and tears all at once.
A simple, lovely score underlines Rowland’s almost magical captivation of his crowd. Indeed, when the show finally ends it is like a spell has been broken, but even days later you can still feel the effects: the earnest, stunning, human emotion that Rowland has shared with you.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed