You will become completely familiar with the word ‘szeretlek,’ both in pronunciation and meaning, by the end of this charming, historical love story set in post-WWII Hungary. While the dance/physical theatre moments could have been tighter, the quaint soundtrack and literal inclusion of performer/creator Zita Wayrady’s grandmother’s voice throughout the piece brings depth and realism to the occasionally silly, periodically serious, and thoroughly nostalgic family history.
Perhaps it was because the show I attended was a weekday matinée, but I prefer to think that it was the story attracted the large proportion of the audience that were ladies who were likely grandmothers themselves. There were some easy hugs that resulted from some audience participation and, not having much of a family myself, getting a literal ‘I love you’ from a 60+ woman sitting near me made the whole thing feel like a family reunion where no one is drunk and everybody genuinely cares.
Apart from the feels, there were some pleasantly unexpected moments with props and mask, a useful linguistics lesson, a dance tutorial, as well as the most delightful description of World War Two Axis and Allies you could possibly ever see.
This show’s story, setting, and audience participation made it reminiscent of a Folklorama Pavilion (which is not lost on the performers at all). My advice for this one is to grab your grandparents (if you’ve got them), go see the show, and then ask them if there was any parallels they saw with some of their own family stories.