Review, Friday Night Love Poem, Crossline Theatre, By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Not many productions, books, shows, advice columns talk openly and frankly about sex, love and what it is like for different women.

Friday Night Love Poem is a coming of age story about three different women: a group of women in America, all part of a Christian support group, a Canadian teenager in the early noughties and a British teenager in current times. We see the juxtaposition of not only how sex and love has change through ages, but also what it is like in different communities and also different ages.

The first third of the Production is interesting and does well to steer away from the quintessential and stereotypical Bible bashing American evangelists. There are elements of their extremism but it isn’t what we see often portrayed. It isn’t satirical and therefore makes it more real. There is a sense of recognition; we can relate to elements but some we cannot, as per part of this community. Sex before marriage and LGBTQ+ are questioned and the woman, who is experiencing this confusing time, is conflicting by two parts of this community – the liberal and the stubborn and traditional. The only issue being that they are cycling through a time period of meetings. At first this isn’t clear that their movements to a different position of the stage is the signal for a scene change, and until we get the hang of this, it convolutes the storyline somewhat. When we change to a completely different story, there is music and lighting change, and this works well. Even if it was a change of lights or a change of outfit item, a prop, then it may have been a little clearer.

Our second coming of age story is something recognisable from my own teenage years. The rebellion, the rock music, the interest of older boys, of sex. We go through the moments losing her virginity and realising later that the one you lose your virginity to is not always the love of you life. A huge difference mirroring earlier discussion of sex after marriage. To avoid the x-rated, we are shown her experience through the use of Barbie and Ken. And somehow this is a really interesting and a subtle way to show it but also highlights the youngness of the character, that the idea of sex is in minds of those much younger than we think, and the unmentioned events and non events of sex. The unspoken. In fact, this, in addition to factual sex ed, would be honest and helpful to anyone.

Our last story is more up to date. This is more poetic and fast paced, and is somehow beautiful in this aspect. The elements of porn pressure, of the pressure on young girls and lack of respect of boys, the consequences of this and more. It is heartbreaking but also realistic, shown in a very theatrical way. The poetic monologue expressing her thoughts and feelings, clearly taken from media and what she thinks she should be and do. And then the issue of revenge porn. Something so grotesque is eloquently expressed.

Friday Night Love Poem is a raw and unbridled look at what sex and love means for all kinds of women; ignoring any boundary, ignoring any stigma and in this way, becoming an important piece of theatre on consent and the unspoken realities of women and sex.

Friday Night Love Poem will be on stage at The Space January 18th – 22nd 2022.

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