Samuel Beckett “at the Oxford Playhouse.”

A theatre review by Julia Gasper 15 June 2011

You won’t be able to go and see Conor Lovett’s one-man performance of First Love because it was on for only one night. The morose, gloomy, ribald black humour, the emphasis on death and animal existence, even scatology, was too much for two women in the audience who walked out half-way through, unable to stand it when the protagonist recalled inscribing his beloved’s name on a cow-pat, which he calls a “heifer-pat”. Perhaps they had hoped to see a play based on Turgenev’s story “First Love”, and if so they would have been very disappointed. A tramp meets a tart on a bench near a canal, moves in with her to get a roof over his head and then leaves when she gives birth to a child as he can’t stand the noise. That’s all there is to it. It’s not great passion. “Either you love or you don’t,” it concludes abruptly.

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