Lovebirds

Brilliant deadpan comedy about a man who checks into the Lovebirds Hotel at the height of the pandemic.

Beautifully underplayed to highlight the surreal situation, Nicola Pedrozzi stars as Francesco, the lone holidaymaker. This is clearly meant to be a couples resort, and while he tells the single remaining member of staff that he expects to be joined later on, it is clear that is either an outright lie, or an unlikely possibility.

The hotel has only 3 other guests, a tan-tastic, leopard-print clad, middle-aged couple, and a solitary fat man, whose eagerness for company only makes Francesco avoid him more. The hotel is cavernous for the few remaining guests. Without the sounds of other human beings, the background tweets of the namesake nesting lovebirds becomes a foregrounded cacophony.

The loneliness of the main character in this normally romantic setting is externalised in the alienating environment of the hotel. He eats alone in a vast canteen from a plastic tray wrapped in clingfilm. The bronzed couple always put on their masks whenever they see him, despite the wide distances that separate them in this huge resort. The staff has been reduced to just one chipper staff member who is desperate not to lose more revenue by having anyone leave, so tries her utmost to keep everyone engaged, despite how laughable that is under current circumstances.

Francesco is persuaded to go to the hotel’s club night, to tempt him out of his shell. There, a keyboard stands alone on an unmanned stage, cycling through programmed tunes. The solitary staff member overcompensates for the total lack of atmosphere by making quirky cocktails served in coconuts full of sprigs of tinsel and umbrellas. The same 4 people sit, not speaking to each other, as you can literally hear the sounds of footsteps across the dancefloor.

When the keyboard finishes its cycle, and clawing silence fills the company, Francesco finally stirs from his solitude and indifference, and mounts the stage to play something for the room. In doing so, he makes the night a little bit brighter for himself, and others.

Hilariously understated, reflective of the surreal and isolating nature of our times.