Spillikin – A Love Story
Pipeline Theatre offers not one but two lovely little romcom stories in this play by Jon Welch, but audiences will remember it primarily because of a prop.
An elderly woman slipping into dementia is a widow, though she does not fully realise it. Her husband was a brilliant pioneer in artificial intelligence and robotics, and his dying gift was a robot filled with his memories to keep her company.
She begins to confuse the machine with the man, and as a strangely believable warmth develops between them they sing together, play games and reminisce. This leads to a string of flashbacks in which we see the story of how husband and wife met, which is a second sweet little fable of the shy nerdy teenager and the pretty girl who is as surprised as he when she finds herself drawn to him.
Either story alone might be enough to carry a short play, and here they resonate against each other in attractive and heart-warming ways. With the playwright directing, there are excellent performances all around, not least by the robot, an actual mechanical construction who usually works as a museum host.