Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, ITV; Downton Abbey, ITV; Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes, BBC) returns to the stage with Love, Loss & Chianti, an exciting double-bill from award-winning British poet Christopher Reid. This is part of the highly anticipated relaunch of Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.
A staged adaptation of two books by Reid, Love, Loss & Chianti sees Bathurst star alongside Rebecca Johnson (The Trip, BBC; Paper, Scissors Stone, VAULT Festival), reprising their roles in the critically acclaimed verse comedy The Song of Lunch, as well as a premiere production of Reid’s Costa Book Award winning verse, A Scattering. Both will be exquisitely intertwined with glorious animations from celebrated cartoonist Charles Peattie.
A Scattering, written during the three years surrounding the death of his wife, is Reid’s autobiographical and deeply affecting verse poem; an unmawkish depiction of loss, articulating emotions most of us find hard to express. Transporting audiences from a hospice bed to the hills of Crete, the verse beautifully captures the author’s stages of grief and attempted resolution.
Celebrating love and acknowledging loss, The Song of Lunch is a hilarious and poignant drama set in a Soho Italian restaurant. Following its huge success at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018, this bittersweet tale returns to the stage, presenting a reckless attempt to rekindle lost love between two former lovers.
A Scattering and The Song of Lunch are bound together by the power of memory and yearning, championing the vivid and emotive language of Reid’s verse. On the day Reid finished writing A Scattering, he began The Song of Lunch – a fictional, farcical diversion from the mood of his past three years.
Peattie’s witty and skilful animation creates a visual feast, illustrating both the action and the characters’ internal thoughts. This multi-disciplinary double-bill dissects the human condition to reminisce on the past, the shoulda woulda coulda mentality, and the ability to love unconditionally despite uncontrollable circumstances.
Robert Bathurst commented: “This has been a project I’ve been preparing for what feels like a long time, with the vital support of the poet Christopher Reid. I proposed to him this double-bill and have been doing try-outs in art galleries, theatres, clubs and pubs. Charles Peattie’s rich, vivid animation serves the language beautifully, it also allows us to play these pieces on a larger scale and bring Christopher’s clear, perfectly phrased, witty, emotionally charged and beautifully characterful writing to mainstream theatre audiences.”
Returning to direct the exciting pairing is Jason Morell (Love is Only Love, Minerva Theatre; Terrors of the Night and Laments, Wanamaker Playhouse). Love, Loss & Chianti is a show for anyone who has ever loved and lost, and been on a rubbish date.
Love, Loss and Chianti will run at Riverside Studios from Tuesday 25 February – Sunday 17 May 2020.