Written for Whatsonstage.com
Lovers Walk, a sweet yet not sickly promenade performance by HighHearted Theatre for Southwark Playhouse, is the perfect cure to sedentary theatre-going. The story of Matt and Rosie’s relationship may be familiar, but it is told in a unique and brave new way.
Taking in back alleys, bridges and boats, the audience joins Matt Odell and Rosie Waters on a journey around the sights of Southwark. Although some of the locations are typical and touristy, we come to see them in a different light: as significant landmarks or “memory stains” in the world of Matt and Rosie. Taking on the roles of stewards, actors and narrators, the fluidity and confidence of these performers indicates the redundancy of an expensive purpose-built set and extensive production team.
As Matt and Rosie’s relationship begins to falter, the audience is put in an awkward position: the specificity of the locations we find ourselves in makes us feel more than usually voyeuristic. The pair go their separate ways, and this is where the show really gets clever. As they pine for and punish each other, we find ourselves literally walking over the same old ground.
Highly sensitive to and engaged with its surroundings, Lovers Walk is a rare gem. With carefully integrated audience participation, adept transitions between different functional roles and a gently poetic script, it will melt even the hardest of hearts just a little bit.