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I Love You Now

Lynne Lancaster

The world premiere of this multi-layered work about love, lust and desire features two fine performances.
I Love You Now

Photo credit: Robert Catto

The tango is a dance of sizzling passion and it links this play, opening it and being performed at various points throughout in assorted moods – fiery and passionate, exuberant and wistful.

I Love You Now is Jeanette Cronin’s third play; this is its world premiere. A multi-layered work about love, lust and desire, it examines intimacy in contemporary relationships. Cinematic in its approach and poetically structured, the piece jumps fluidly between its various characters, whose infidelities are played out in a series of short vignettes; the audience has to work out how they all fit together.

The set is an anonymous motel room, elegantly furnished (as designed by Isabel Hudon). The curtains are left drawn on the large windows so we can see the two musicians (Max Lambert and Roger Lock) who provide a sizzling yet thoughtful accompaniment. Martin Kinnane’s lighting is magnificent.

Kim Hardwick’s direction is excellent, the rhythm, timing and pacing sensational. According to Hardiwck’s program notes, each relationship ‘becomes a reflection of a reflection of a reflection’ – which at times makes this play a little confusing. Nonetheless, Cronin’s script has flair and elegance, as well as a great ear for dialogue, as she explores the escapades of the middle aged and middle class in their quest for sexual and romantic fulfilment.

Leo once loved June, but he’s now with Michelle. June is having an affair with Rob, Leo’s brother. Meanwhile, Leo is also having an affair with Melissa, the nanny. And June is also discreetly seeing Helmut, her personal trainer…

As the play unfolds we follow the various characters from when they first fall in love and tell each other everything, to when they fall out of love and fall silent.

Cronin herself plays all the female roles while Gleeson tackles the male characters. Both give accomplished, polished yet emotionally raw performances and display a terrific chemistry. At one point Cronin, who gives her all, is full of searing vulnerability, at another loud and foul mouthed. This is contrasted with the soft announcement of her impending demise in another scene. Bearded Gleeson, with a German accent for Helmut, is equally absorbed and absorbing in his roles.

I Love You Now asks the big questions. Does love run out? Is romance only limited by our imagination? How can you tell? How do you find the best words to break up a relationship? Its ending is poignant yet tense, and lyrically romantic.

3 ½ stars out of 5

I Love You Now
By Jeanette Cronin
Director: Kim Hardwick
Production Designer: Isabel Hudson
Sound Design & Composition: Max Lambert & Roger Lock  
Lighting Designer: Martin Kinnane
Stage Manager: Kieren Smith
Choreographer: Pedro Florentino Alvarez
With Jeanette Cronin and Paul Gleeson

The Eternity Playhouse, Darlinghurst
Approximately 90 mins, no interval
9 June – 9 July 2017

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.