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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 25. 6 October 1972



I am sorely tempted to dismiss 'LUV', Downstage's latest offering with a couple of highly patronising remarks about the quality of Downstage's patrons and snootily note the company's increasing sell-out to the nouveaux-riches, pandering to their boorish lack of taste. This would not only be unoriginal, trite, simplistic, though highly fashionable, but a bloody waste of time and an insult to Salient's readers. You would certainly learn nothing about the play.

Murray Schisgal's 'LUV' is a skilful light comedy whose basic fault is that it went on for more than thirty minutes. I enjoyed that first half=hour, noted an oblique reference to Sartre's 'La Nausee' (the basic hang-up, of one of the men is that a dog pissed on him for no reason whatever 'there were thousands of others in the park-why pick on me?), decided that this was probably the only deep thing in the play, and relaxed, expecting nothing more than to be gently amused. But even this was too much to hope for, despite a brilliant performance by Grant Tillyas Milt, whom we first meet neatly dressed in suit, yellow tie and pink shirt scavanging in a New York trashbin. The humour was more and more predictable; the jokes not even worth smiling at. Basically the plot consists of two situations:someone attempts suicide, and is 'saved', and someone falls in love ('You really love me, huh?') and then out again. All three characters-Milt, his old buddy Harry, and his wife Ellen play merry-go-round, which is fun for the participants, but gets pretty tiresome for the audience The best joke is Ellen's businesslike charts of Milt's and Harry's respective sexual performances, a nice, simple comment on love american style.

If you want an easy night out, by all means push your way into LUV, but if you want to leave with a sweet, frothy taste in your head, take advantage of the interval there's hope yet for Downstage: their next production is a full length play by Robert Lord-the first NZ play for several years that they've produced as part of the usual run, rather than late-night, or tucked away on Sundays, and a happy reminder of the better half of Downstage.

—Cathy wylie