My Pet, My Love (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

My Pet, My Love

Fragile but brave autobiographical meditation on love, memory and loss

Quietly, unpretentiously and with touching sincerity, Australian performer Rob Gaetano tackles his own personal fears and hopes in this touching, semi-autobiographical solo show. We see him as a young boy obsessed with his pet fish Bluey, encountering death for the first time; as an actor of today dealing with his insecurities and deeply held fears – be they trivial or profound – and the loss of a loved one; and as one half of an imaginary elderly gay couple (perhaps a future Rob, he hopes) struggling with the onset of dementia.

At first, Gaetano's intersecting fragmentary stories are not always easy to follow, but by re-running key scenes from multiple perspectives and gently drawing attention to common themes, he ensures that they emerge with surprising richness. He's a hugely charismatic performer too, compelling and energetic in his physical work, poignantly fragile elsewhere. And his simple but effective staging – a river of keys snaking across the set – takes on a heartbreaking significance by the show's desperate closing image.

My Pet, My Love is a gentle, contemplative work, but it packs a mighty emotional punch. Through Gaetano's fluid characterisation and his disarming candour, it glows as a delicate but brave meditation on memory, love, loss and death.

C royale, until 28 Aug (not 15), 7.35pm, £8.50–£10.50 (£6.50–£8.50).

My Pet, My Love

  • 4 stars

A one man show by Rob Gaetano, directed by Lily Fish.