Image by Fringe Festival Perth
Reviewed by Brendan Dias
All the Ways to Tell You is a charming production by the newly formed All the Ways Theatre Company and is being performed at the Fringe World Festival. The company is made up of a group of young actors, who in this play are exploring the concept of love, in all its various forms.
The production incorporates a television onto the stage, which plays responses from interview questions about love. The performance alternates between these interview responses and scenes enacted on stage. Most of the interview respondents are (relatively!) older individuals. It was interesting to observe the contrast in the two age groups’ perceptions around love, which was highlighted by the juxtaposition of the show on the stage against the one on TV.
When one older male interviewee is asked about romantic love, he responds by saying that sort of love is meant for women and involves things such as wining and dining. This is met by stunned incredulity on the part of the young female cast. They then go on to list the things that they love, and the difference is stark, verging on humorous.
One aspect of the show I really liked was the way in which the actors’ re-enacted moments of love from the lives of the interviewees. For the older interviewees, it would surely have brought a tear to their eyes to see their cherished memories of youth given new life. For the actors, young and still looking for love, acting out these expressions was probably like being given a blueprint for how their own love might one-day be expressed.
By the end of the performance, it became clear that there was a gentle and warm love that bounds these actors together. They seemed to be good friends both on and off the stage. Among each other they seemed to have found that feeling of belonging, elusive as it is, and watching the play made me feel as though I were a part of this love. The word that comes to mind is ‘ensconce’; feeling as though I am wrapped up in a comfortable cocoon of love that will protect me from all the trials and tribulations that life might throw my way.
Some of the credit for this feeling must go to the simple dulcet notes emanating from the guitar of one of the cast members, who played background music for the show from start to finish. His persistent plucking put me at ease and created a relaxed ambience in front of which the show went on. The homely set further contributed to this warm, welcoming ambience. The actors were expressive, almost to the point of being affected emotionally by what they were presenting, but overall, they rode a perfect balance.
I’d recommend this show to anyone who hasn’t been feeling the love recently and wants their tundra of a heart rekindled; or anyone who just needs a gentle reminder to tell someone you love them. As I write, George Faith croons through my wireless earbuds,
Have I told you?
lately that I love you
But if I didn’t darling,