The Mysterious Mr Love

Saturday, 16 August, 1997

Set around the turn of the century, the story concerns 'Mr Love', a conman who marries women for their money and then runs off with everything they own. His latest victim is Adelaide Pinchin, an approaching middle aged spinster. She is a milliner, who has inherited 50 pounds. She appears to be a very vulnerable lady, who is overweight with a low esteem and lives with her strict family. 'Mr Love' charms her and uses his seductive skills to entice her into a secret marriage within days of meeting. However, when they are married he puts his usual plans into action, but things don't go exactly as schemed!

I found this play a little ordinary and predictable, lacking inventive ideas and originality. The story is a re-mash of many others dealing with similar subjects. However, it is saved by the superb acting of Paul Nicholas, making his straight play debut, and Susan Penhaligon, who is simply brilliant and convincing as 'Adelaide'.

The author succeeds in making the characters believable, giving them depth, but the story just isn't strong enough and lacks the suspense needed to warrant the title of 'thriller. However, PATRICK MARMION of 'TIME OUT' does not agree, he says the play has "a strong script and is well plotted, keeping you guessing throughout." On the other hand, NICK CURTIS of THE EVENING STANDARD says " Who knows , Leach may one day write a play worthy of the West End. But to thrust this early effort into the spotlight does her, and the audience, a great disservice."

The very hot weather the UK is experiencing just now may have had an effect on attendances, particularly as the Comedy theatre is not air conditioned. There were only about 100 people in the theatre, and this a Saturday night! Although it only opened last week I cannot see it lasting very long at all, even though the play is booking to October .

(Darren Dalglish)

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