This little black box of a room is unexpected in The Actors Centre, London, but lovely none the less.
Faced with a slanted bed, Tracey Emin-style mess around it and red wired lights above, it is a simple but provocative set.
Love Me Now sends us on the journey of one woman, her want for love, her mixed relationships and the general lifestyle of single, young people in Britain.
Without delving too personal, the narrative is full of situations, conversations, thoughts, feelings and actions that are not unusual for a 20-30 something these days. How anyone only meets through online apps; women being chastised to this day about their sexual prowess but men still looking like the true ‘stud’ for the same actions; the fear of sexual abuse; and the characters we all relate to.
Alistair Toovey plays the cool bad boy that every girl has fallen for – the one who somewhere deep down cares but realistically is too frightened themselves to really let down their guard. But full of masculinity, he sees Helena Wilson’s character as nothing but a sex object, when once they were friends despite his arguments against this. Toovey is the right kind of stand-offish but with the right amount of charm that we still fall for him, like Wilson.
Wilson’s character is full of insecurities; the one guy (Toovey) who completely rocks her world turns her into something she no longer recognises and that leaves her unsure of what she is doing, what she wants and what she believes. A character played so well that any woman could project themselves into her spot.
Gianbruno Spena has a small but still vital role – playing the boy after Toovey’s character has left, he is nice enough, not as fun or interesting as the bad boy but also a complete opposite – believing women shouldn’t swear, very traditional and very… urgh. Spena plays a great part, still bringing this character to fruition but also, with Barnette’s writing, is able to still become ‘like all men’ and still think and see that same things in Wilson that Toovey did.
She is still an untouchable – not worth anything.
Barnette has done well to take all insecurities, situations and actions from today’s dating and sex scene and transformed it into one short play. She summarises how women and indeed how men feel, and highlights a culture where we define our personal worth on a romantic outcome.
Love Me Now is funny, meaningful and really in keeping with today’s society. If you have ever had a bad date, loved the bad boy/girl, or just didn’t feel good enough, you will relate to Barnette’s play.