Review: Love, Loss and Chianti

A poetic text and consummate performance

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Love, Loss & Chianti
Photo by Alex Harvey-Brown
Published 08 Aug 2022

Such is the reputation for the Fringe’s weirder, more off the wall shows that sometimes the strangest thing of all is to see something that feels…well, just like a classic piece of theatre. Love, Loss and Chianti is very much that, elevated by a zippy, poetic text and two consummate lead performances.

Two shows, effectively. The first a portrait of a man grieving his wife, getting lost in the warring memories of a holiday in Greece, the last days of her life in a hospice, and the home they shared together. The poetry of the script is tight, but maybe ill-suited to a character who you feel should be on the rack a little more. While there is incredible control in the language, the contral jars with the grief being portrayed. 

The second show, in which a slightly more pathetic character tries to roll back the years in a Soho restaurant with an old flame, fits better. The animated backdrop perfectly transports you through London’s nooks and alleys into this faded cafe, and a moment towards the end where our protagonist drunkenly stumbles into the belfry of the establishment, mirroring his own state of spiritual decline, is really strong. The choice to make him a faded poet, someone whose work never quite managed to capture the strength of his emotion, almost acts as a meta-critique of the show’s first half, intentionally or otherwise. The two parts don’t fully connect, but there’s still lots to enjoy here.