“What They Said About Love” Charms, Thrills, at The Marsh, S.F.
Steve Budd Uncovers Truths behind Love
by Kelsey Severson
In his fresh and exciting one-man show “What They Said About Love,” Steve Budd dives deep into what brings couples together and what drives them crazy. Steve uses genuine humor and sensitivity to reveal his own problems with compromise and commitment.
Budd wittily tells the stories of five couples he interviewed. We get to know each couple intimately through his warm and captivating imitations. “What They Said About Love,” a documentary rom-com, gets the stages of love just right. Budd, a master story-teller, makes his tales of love feel real and authentic.
Budd brings his interviews with five couples to life. He becomes a host of characters in rapid fire, changing mannerisms and voices in a flash. The lights dim as he transitions to each couple, and we follow along, effortlessly. We can see the cat he strokes and smell the cigarette he pretends to hold. We laugh out loud at each lover’s annoying antics that their partner despises. How can we love someone so much—and hate the way he blows his nose?
Gabby and Matt met on Craigslist. Steve shows us Gabby, in her wispy voice telling us about her list of traits for an ideal guy. Then Steve morphs into Matt, and in a deep, fast voice, he reveals how opposite he is from her expectations. Together, they illustrate that we have to adjust our expectations to let the right person in.
Steve takes us on his romantic journey to Oaxaca, Mexico, where he meets the beguiling, spectacular Chinua, from Kenya. Madly in love, Steve invites Chinua back to Berkeley. Steve honestly and brilliantly portrays his love for the younger, possibly wiser woman. He presents Chinua’s persona in feminine voice with a slight Kenyan accent.
Tension builds in their post-honeymoon phase. Chinua berates Steve for being critical, letting uptightness gets the best of him. She claims he does not appreciate what he has in her. Steve is admirably hard on himself, letting his vulnerability flow out. He looks inward to find to why he cannot commit.
Speaking softly, Budd also embodies a spiritual interviewee who has explains that Love is putting in the work. She says you have be there be for your partner and grow into one another. She says it takes time to learn to live with human flaws.
“What They Said About Love” reminds us there is no right way to do this love thing. Budd takes a raw look into maintaining a loving and lasting relationship.
Steve Budd leaves us feeling that lasting love is attainable…with compromise and acceptance. Budd’s performance still pulls at my heartstrings. For those in love or who struggle with love, Steve Budd shines a bright light.
“What They Said About Love” by Steve Budd, directed by Mark Kenward, developed with David Ford, at The Marsh, San Francisco, through August 18, 2018. Info: themarsh.org
Cast: Steve Budd