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  • Alice Duboin

Review - Love's a Beach

Soho Theatre

One night only

Photo credit: Jake Bush

Review {AD-Invited}

For one night only at the Soho Theatre, Love’s a Beach tells the story of two influencers, Cyrus (James Akka) and Ben (Iain Ferrier) and how they commercialise through the use of their social media platforms. Beneath the superficial glamour, the story explores the differences in Cyrus and Ben’s ambitions and priorities.


The play has a hilarious and rather surreal opening, Cyrus standing on stage with only a nappy, reciting a commercial about leak and self-confidence. Ben, disguised among the audience then stands up and interrupts Cyrus to give some pointers on how to best position nappies for adults. This brief interaction that follows as the two plough through social media updates will resonate with moderate to heavy users of platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, establishing the two characters as couples and career influencers that support each other’s creative ventures.


Akka and Ferrier deliver enthusiastic performances, portraying the excitement over the many sponsoring offers they received and a logical system to categorise their pros and cons before deciding on which to pursue. This lovable duo showcases the realism of the people that can hide behind the façade of the influencer image and the associated fame.


However, it is obvious that the two have polarising values. While Cyrus is obsessed with the fame and money that come with the job, Ben is more interested in the type of products he takes on and the values behind these brands. Before long, there is another development. Cyrus has received an exciting offer to promote a resort in Dubai, and despite warnings from Ben about the illegality of homosexuality there and its death penalty, Cyrus insists on going and he is somehow exempted from situations that apply to others, amplifying the rift between the two characters. Two important themes are presented in this exchange, how influencers prioritise their values and the mentality that fame would somehow exempt them from rules. Furthermore, the happiness of influencers is also called into question and this doesn’t have to correlate with their number of followers.


Given the richness of the topics, packing them all into a sixty-minute performance proves to be a challenge and although the audience is given a glimpse of the play’s potentials, it suffers from under-exploration and pacing issues. Without spoiling too much, the characters’ realisations felt sudden and abrupt, and effectively resolved in the last ten or so minutes of the show. While it is appreciated that the ending is perhaps intentionally open ended, there was a sense that it only scratches the surface of some deep topics and further development would be helpful in supporting the audience in reaching a sense of closure by themselves. Nonetheless, Love’s a Beach contains a range of humourous dialogues, pertinent and relatable content for the modern audience, and a clear message of how easy it is to lose the sense of reality and deny your true self through social media.


Creatives

Writers: Will Johnson, Katie Sayer

Director: Phoebe Gibby

Lighting Designer: Sam Porter-Frakes

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