Review: Love Bites at York Theatre Royal

Last night I went to the theatre. It is fourteen months since I was last in the audience of any performance and it felt strange.

By Angie Millard

Feature photo – Luella Rebbeck, Jamie Marshall and Isla Bowles by Tom Arber

The York Theatre Royal have mounted a piece called Love Bites which opens what Tom Bird, the Chief Executive calls ‘a season of brave bold love stories’. The opening entertainment showcases local talent and covers a wide range of material. There was singing and dance, physical theatre, poetry, film and drama. Something for everyone, I suppose you could say.

The evening began with a poem written by W.H. Auden (who was born in York) and was performed  brilliantly by Toby Gordon, a York born professional actor who played Lucifer in The York Mystery play in the Minster in 2016.

Throughout the evening we were treated to a variety of content and wide-ranging talent but my personal favourites were the artists who offered me a different take on what this year has been like. These included:

Ekhaya, Love Them Both – a multi-disciplined piece performed by Butshilo Nieya,

Vanessa Simmons Reverie – the retelling of a dream written for piano,

The joyous dancing of Alice Brody and Leanne Hope,

And a nightmare scenario of trying to express oneself in Lost For Words by Paul Birch, magical puppetry by Story Craft Theatre.

All the work was exceptional and let’s not forget the amateurs ably represented by Maurice Crighton delivering a moving love letter to the theatre. If the rest of the season delivers material of this calibre we are in for an exciting and stimulating time. We left the building buzzing with the memory of what things used to be like and feeling connected again.