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Review: A Brief Conversation About the Inevitability of Love at Little LTF ***1/2

Last September’s Liverpool Theatre Festival was a welcome, bright light in the impenetrable gloom cast over the industry by the Coronavirus pandemic.

So bravo that it’s not only returning this year, but has been joined by a ‘little’ sibling, running until Sunday, which aims specifically to showcase new writing from North West talent.

Ian Salmon has enjoyed a run of well-received shows since his debut play The Comeback Special was highly commended in the Liverpool Hope Playwriting Prize six years ago – not least the brilliantly big-hearted rock musical Girls Don’t Play Guitars at the Royal Court which proved his last outing pre the big ‘C’.

Here he has woven together a much quieter reflection of hopes and dreams and into what is essentially a love story of missed chances.

Samantha Alton and Thomas Galashan are the couple – or are they? – who manoeuvre around each other, both physically and verbally, in the brief (well, 70-minute) conversation of Salmon’s title.

It’s a conversation we the audience join somewhere after its beginning, playing catch up only to find it’s shifted again as the pair unpack the baggage of past relationship failures and swap spiky stories which slowly add up to a lifetime of meetings-that-nearly-were.

Alton’s character is a teasingly combative questioner, while Galashan proves convincing as a bemused bloke who finds himself on the back foot as they trade shared memories, albeit seen from different perspectives.

And while there’s not quite an irresistible, fizzing chemistry between the pair, you find yourself invested enough in their story to want to know what’s in their shared past – and future.

That future comes into focus in a plot twist which some might be able to guess in advance (I had a sudden epiphany) but if so would be churlish to spoil it for others.

A Brief Conversation About the Inevitability of Love - which is a great title by the way - is the opening show in a week of 'Little LTF'performances taking place inside a transparent marquee specially constructed within the shell of the Bombed Out Church.

Top: Samantha Alton and Thomas Galashan in A Brief Conversation About the Inevitability of Love. Photo by David Munn

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