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The Essence Of Love

    by Philip Ayckbourn

"Highly Recommended Show!" ***** Fringe Review rating


Comedy Play Script: 'The Essence Of Love' by Philip Ayckbourn

A mother and her daughter and a father and his son find themselves on neighbouring hotel terraces in Marrakech. The ‘holiday in the sun’ soon threatens to be clouded by the usual family tensions. Middle-aged Martin, a divorcee and perpetual skirt-chaser, is an embarrassment to his angry, young artist son, Tom. Meanwhile, on the adjacent terrace, the hedonistic Diana, a fellow divorcee and amateur thespian, equally infuriates her diffident daughter, Gemma.

Encountering a local street trader, Diana receives a gift of a powerful love potion and decides to put it to the test. Initially she considers using the potion to help her daughter but can’t resist the temptation of getting attentions for herself. A few drops added to Tom’s water bottle has the young man instantly besotted. The unlikely new couple venture out to explore the souks, leaving Martin to try his sweet-talk on the unfortunate Gemma. While choking on a peanut, it’s Gemma’s turn to imbibe some of the ‘spiked’ water, which has her falling unreservedly for Martin. Act One culminates with the two being discovered in passionate embrace, much to the horror of the returning Diana… and Tom.

Act Two finds Diana in a quandary. Obtaining an antidote, she intends to remedy things, but again falls victim to her own desires. Complications ensue fuelled by misplaced affections. Is the love that Tom declares for Gemma genuine? Will Martin get over his newfound self-obsession? And can Diana act beyond her own self-interests in order to rectify the situation?

A lively comedy-farce that takes a wry look at the madness of infatuation and what remains when passions have run their course.

A CD of incidental music especially composed for the play is available.


(3m, 2f)

  • Diana Moore - around 50
  • Gemma Moore - 19
  • Martin Walker - around 50
  • Tom Walker - 21
  • Abdul Hamid - 60s, Moroccan street vendor (could double as Martin)
Voice of young Moroccan street vendor

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