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Forget Wigan Casino and The Torch, The New Vic is the home of Northern Soul this week!

Do I Love You

Written by John Godber

Review by David Bithell

Choreography - Sally Malloy

At its core, "Do I Love You?" is an unfurling tapestry of human connection, with Northern Soul centered on the life cycle of relationships through the eyes of its three protagonists, Sally (Martha Godber), Kyle (Emilio Encinoso-Gil) and Natalie (Chloe MacDonald). With a minimalist set, the play forgoes grandiose spectacle to focus on this popular genre around the Midlands and Northern parts of England whilst balancing the love and bond of the three characters. The stage becomes a vacuum where every laugh, tear, and sigh is magnified, compelling the audience to reflect on their personal experiences of these all nighters at Northern Soul venues such as The Torch in Stoke, Wigan Casino and others of similar ilk. It is also noteworthy to mention it is the 50th anniversary of Wigan Casino.

Photo Credit - Ian Hodgson

The performances in this production are remarkable; the actors navigate their roles with a depth of understanding that breathes life into Godber's intricate dialogue. They manage to showcase the impalpable nuances of communication – those small gestures and changes in tone that signify so much more than words could express and of course the dancing which was and still is part of the Northern Soul vibe. The chemistry on stage is palpable – a testament to skilled casting and the universal truths embedded in the script.

Photo Credit - Ian Hodgson

What sets Godber's work apart is his ability to balance humor with the intensity of drama. "Do I Love You?" is no exception, as it elicits laughter through recognizably awkward situations and one-liners that reveal the absurdity often found within the trials and tribulations of love and Friendship and sorrow. Yet, the play doesn't shy away from the occasional gut punch. You can tell John's love for Northern Soul as the passion and love shines through the script and music.

The pacing of the play is also noteworthy. The sound track is also of note, from classics such as the title of the play by Frank Wilson, Seven Days Too Long by Chuck Wood and much more.

Photo Credit - Ian Hodgson

The set and lighting design are simple yet effective. They create an intimate atmosphere that invites the audience into the private world of the characters. The creative use of space and light not only reinforces the mood of each scene but also delineates the passage of time, which is a subtle yet powerful element in the storytelling.

Do I Love You is one not to be missed.

At The New Vic from Tuesday 30th January until Saturday 3rd February.

For tickets call the box office on 01782 717962 or by visiting Do I Love You? - New Vic Theatre

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