Love Song (3 stars)

Shrink-wrapped dark comedy from John Kolvenbach

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Love Song

credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

This Love Song may feel like a familiar cover version, but it bears all the hallmarks of a classic. The family in American writer John Kolvenbach's play are dysfunctional, but tender. Taciturn, troubled Beane (Ewan Donald) has started indulging in a little verbal foreplay with Molly (Sarah Swire, who also composed and plays the music here) a loose cannon who has just robbed his apartment. His neurotic sister Joan (Emily Winter) and husband Harry (Barrie Hunter) don't understand why they've yet to meet the wonderful Molly.

Andrew Panton's deft direction finds the strong cast dealing with the vagaries of a moribund marriage and mental health issues. Although Kolvenbach's wisecracks around ripe cantaloupes and amateur psychology invoke Woody Allen at his most scabrous, circa 1975, the production feels timeless.

Winter is outstanding as Joan, whose initial interference in Beane's life would be irksome were she not portrayed in such an affecting and multi-faceted way: her perfection is as important to the narrative drive as Beane's introspection. Front and centre, Richard Evans' revolving stage, complemented by Grant Anderson' s eerie sci-fi lighting, is suggestive of equilibrium thrown off balance.

Even if the second half bevels a little under its own sentimentality, it's hard not to invest in the family's plights without a great deal of affection. They're good company and worthy of another spin.

Dundee Rep, until Sat 23 Apr.

Love Song

An offbeat romantic comedy centred on three members of a small family – oddball Beane, his uptight sister Joan and her outspoken husband, Harry.

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