BBC Radio 7, 3 May 2009
From the evidence of this play, it appears that the characters will do
anything for love. Barbara (Joanna van Gyseghem) - a lonely single working woman - falls in love with Hamish (Cameron Stewart),
who is going out with Barbara (Barb's) best friend Nicky (Teresa Gallagher). Living below Barb is Gilbert (Gavin Muir), an
outwardly friendly postman, ever willing to do little jobs around the house. However his obsession for Barb is so great that
he keeps some of her clothes around the house, and paints a gigantic picture of her in the nude on his ceiling.
Things We Do For Love returns to familiar Ayckbourn territory of loneliness,
of people imprisoned by their desires and pathologically incapable of expressing them in public. But this is a more violent,
darker work (as compared to his earlier plays such as The Norman Conquests): Barb and Hamish have a violent
fist-fight, while Nicky experiences a fit of hysterics on learning that her boyfriend has been to bed with her best friend.
Meanwhile Gilbert unsuccessfully attempts suicide on realizing that Barb has no feelings for him. In Gordon House's production
we hear Barb and Hamish engaging in frenzied sexual congress, as if desperate to grafity their lust, even if it means hurting
those closest to them. Friendship means nothing in a world where everyone feels emotionally and physically alienated.
Sometimes this production veered towards the melodramatic; it seemed as if all four
protagonists let their hearts rule their heads in a peculiarly un-English way. And yet at the end I wondered whether this
play had anything more to say about human frailty than the much better written Small Family Business, where all the
violence takes place offstage. The jury could be out on this one - suffice to say that as ever he has a unique grasp of stagecraft
that sustains the listener's attention throughout the play's ninety-minute running time.