You get a sense of what to expect from Lovecraft… before the show even begins, as you wait in line to hug (or cwtch) performer Carys Eleri. She greets every single person as though they’re a long-lost friend, a joyful prologue to what ends up being a wonderful one-hour show about the power of companionship. This isn’t really a show about relationships, though – instead, using ‘sexy science’, crude animation and a catchy soundtrack, Eleri explains how and why friendly and familial relationships are far healthier than our romantic ones.
The biggest draw of Lovecraft… is Eleri herself, mainly because she looks like she’s really enjoying herself on stage. It’s infectious. Her comic timing is impeccable, as is her knack for belting out a song, and the two together are a winning combination. Josh Bowles is superb with his AV and sound design – perhaps it’s churlish to commend him on hitting his cues, but it’s so integral to the piece that everything around Eleri’s performance is seamless, and that’s exactly what Bowles ensures.
If there’s something missing, though, it’s emotional depth. Not that it isn’t there at all (anecdotes about a difficult relationship are very relatable, for one) but the levity with which the rest of the show is treated minimises that particular response from the audience. The major exception to that is an addendum from Eleri at the end of the show, which gives the entire show a new perspective.
Ultimately, though, it is in fact the levity that stands out most about Lovecraft… While seen from a woman’s perspective, the show is a reminder to everyone that not only can genuine unconditional love be found everywhere, it can also be found very close to home. The show ends with another hug, the world a slightly better place because of it.