Winner of the 1995 Tony Award for Best Play, Love! Valour! Compassion! is a mammoth exploration into life, love and loss at the end of the millennium.
As hilarious as it is heart-breaking, Terrence McNally’s seminal work captures the zeitgeist of 90s America and forces the question – when reality hits home, who and what is most important to us?
Beautifully written, Love! Valour! Compassion! gathers together eight gay men at the upstate New York summer house of a celebrated dancer-choreographer who fears he is losing his creativity… and possibly his lover. Infidelity, flirtations, soul-searching, AIDS, truth-telling, and skinny-dipping mix monumental questions about life and death.
To experience Love! Valour! Compassion! is to join in a dance of life.
Warning: This production contains nudity, strong language and racially offensive language. It was written, set and originally performed in the mid 90s and the text reflects the social and cultural context of the time.
Age Guidance: 16 +
4 Star REVIEW – Rick Bowen at StageStruck
DON’T be fooled by the first half of this multi-award winning play, which largely
seems preoccupied with the trivial, as we spend three landmark American holidays
in a lakeside holiday home with a group of gay friends.
This idyllic place is owned by Gregory, a New York choreographer hopelessly
devoted to his partner Bobby, vulnerable but not held back as a result of his
While Terrence Mc Nally’s expertly crafted play, set in the States in the mid 90s,
takes a more serious turn after the interval, there are some moments of comedy gold
to enjoy with one of the pals, Buzz, treating us to some classic one liners and a
personal philosophy that is to put it mildly, unique.
Then there’s the spectre of AIDS, the wicked and cruel disease that dulls the
characters pursuit of unbridled hedonism.
Buzz may be the most entertaining of Mc Nally’s characters – all of human life is here
– but by far the most fascinating is Ramon who epitomises that well worn old saying
about still waters running deep. I found the way he toys with Bobby quietly cruel and
A tight knit cast create a convincing cameraderie thanks to the expert and astute
direction of Barry Purves, a leading creative who never puts a foot wrong when it
comes to making top class theatre.
Mike Jenkinson-Deakin, Paul Cudby, Patrick O’Brien, Glenn Jenkinson-Deakin, Rhys
Nuttall, Mackauley Reece and Jay Hollows invest so much into their roles
emotionally you couldn’t begrudge them a post performance drink or two. For me, it’s
Hollows who gives the performance of the night as Ramon as I found this character
The Garrick is staging this piece as part of its LGBTQ+ season and it was pleasing to
see a different kind of audience at the Garrick’s wonderful Lauriston Studio.
But I do hope this play is seen by as many theatregoers as possible. A fabulous
script, fabulous performances. A must see.
Love Valour Compassion is suitable for over 16s only and contains brief nudity and
racially offensive language.
Until February 5. The box office is on 0161 928 1677 or altrinchamgarrick.co.uk.
Star rating – ****
Photos taken by Martin Ogden.
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