Writer: Annette Brook
Director: Robbie Taylor Hunt
The VAULT Festival is entering its fourth week, and it’s busier than ever down in the tunnels under Waterloo station. How We Love, about a marriage between a gay man and a lesbian, finds it own quiet space, full of heartbreak and love, amid the hustle and the crowds.
Babs and Regi live in Lewisham but they want to get back to Nigeria, their homeland. They miss their partners: Babs misses his boyfriend, an investigative journalist, and Regi misses her girlfriend. They don’t mention their names. It’s safer that way.
If Babs and Regi get married it will stop the gossip back home. If they become each other’s beards it will give them respectability, and, importantly, the cover to continue with their real relationships. However, will they make a convincing husband and wife? Perhaps not, as even the elderly neighbour Rupert has cottoned on to the fact that things may not be as they seem.
It may sound like the beginning of a comedy, and, indeed, there is humour in the early scenes, but there’s a lot more at stake here, especially when Rupert shares his own story of persecution.
As Babs and Regi, Enoch Lwanga and Ewa Dina are exceptional. Lwanga hides Babs’s fear behind idealism and indifference while Dina’s Regi is more hidden although there are flashes of joy as she prepares for the wedding that she is nevertheless unprepared for. Rupert’s monologue is carefully delivered by Paul T. Davies and it becomes the pivot of the play, cleverly linking the past to the present day.
This is an important show, and it could easily extend its 60-minute running time to offer more details about this odd trio of friends. How We Love could be the darkest play, but Annette Brook’s writing offers chinks of light in unexpected places. Each character makes a sacrifice and each one flickers with hope.
Runs until 23 February 2020