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Edinburgh 2022: Review: LOVE THEM TO DEATH, Underbelly

Review of Love Them To Death at Underbelly

Edinburgh 2022: Review: LOVE THEM TO DEATH, Underbelly

Edinburgh 2022: Review: LOVE THEM TO DEATH, Underbelly

Love Them To Death opens with Gemma (Helena Antoniou) reeling off a list of the medical conditions her five-year-old son Danny has in a meeting with Kelly(Claire-Louise Cordwell), the school attendance officer. Danny has only just moved to this school and already Kelly deems his attendance unacceptable. Gemma insists that her son is disabled and is not well enough to attend school.

Gemma takes up a disproportionate amount of Kelly's time. She emails her constantly listing details of new conditions that Danny has. Kelly's problem is that there are inconsistencies with Gemma's stories. Gemma protests that she's a trained nurse who knows her son and knows when he is unwell but Kelly is suspicious as to whether Danny is truly unwell or whether this is all in Gemma's mind.

Max Dickins' writing is sharp and takes into account the nuance of the situation. On one side is a frustrated teacher who is tired of parents constantly seeking a label to explain their children's behaviour and on the other is a mother who is trying to advocate for what is best for her son. Important issues are touched on such as the long wait for children's mental health services.

Love Them To Death is a dark and twisty tale inspired by real events. It's wonderfully unpredictable and both performers take on the roles of complex characters really well.

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