Review – The Soft Subject (A Love Story)

The Soft Subject (A Love Story)

Chris Woodley used to be a drama teacher. Today he is going to give us a lesson in love and heartbreak.

Like any well planned lesson, Chris structures his show into Starter Activity, Introduction, Main Task, Assessment of Learning, and Evaluation. The Aim of the lesson is ‘to live happily ever after’. Unfortunately that aim is more difficult in real life than in fairy stories and part of the show is about that painful adjustment to reality when a relationship breaks down. However, Chris finds that there is more than one way to live happily ever after than just meeting a handsome prince.

This is a really lovely and honest, autobiographical show. My particular highlight was when Chris read out emails from his dad, gruffly enquiring about his love life and offering support – I was very tempted to buy a copy of the script to receive a personal email from Chris’ Dad. I also loved Chris’ insistence that this show was ‘a love story’, not a coming out story, or a story about prejudice and homophobia. There are still far too few positive gay narratives. Although The Soft Subject didn’t skirt around the negative, as Chris shared the depths of his depression in the aftermath of his separation from his partner. Ultimately though, I found The Soft Subject uplifting. As Chris’s dad says, in a cliche that’s only permissible because his Dad is reading it in a recording of his email, life is a marathon. Some bits you’ll find harder than others. You’ve got to keep going and not give up.

The Soft Subject runs at Assembly Hall until 28th August.

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