“If I wasn‘t wet and cold and permanantly depressed I think I‘d love this city. Then again what is London without the above?” The musings of homeless philosopher Sam in Steven Lally‘s Letters From Everyone will shake you one way or another and I dare you to leave this play emotionally untouched.
Sam is a young homeless girl (we never find out much about her past) who reads Dickens and made her den close to the shrine of a murdered young man. His father still shows up everyday after work, getting slightly drunker over time. The Shrine anchors the show, letting each character have their turn to muse about the city and death.
The trio of the grieving father (Camron Robertson), the jaded cop (Emma Pring) and the eloquent beggar (Amy Cornwell) form a Dickensian trio observing the effects of London on its denizens. The drama student (Tom Gibson) provides needed comic-relief even as he confounds us with the question, just what is he doing there?
This play is brilliantly written. The mystery of the murder frames the story, even if its solution feels convinient and tidy. What makes the show tick is drama between the characters. There are no real group scenes, characters are paired up and discuss everything from death to the audience members.
The clash of the intense emotions expressed toward the dead, and the disdain showed to the homeless girl is powerful. We naturally sympathise with her even if the character seems a bit to neat and witty for a beggar. Making the audience feel the cold and dampness of january is no mean feat, which is mostly achieved by the acting. There is somthing eternal about the letters left on the grave. In an age of e-mails, letters feel almost sacred, something more valuable than the e-mail and texts that replaced them, which is partly why it’s so hilarious when Sam rips into them for being corny and emotional.
This play will make you think about the way you view the city around you and wonder about how it views you. Lally is a promising young writer and this play promises a great career. See it, you won’t regret a moment. 4/5
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
Letters From Everyone is currently showing at The Drayton Arms Theatre until Saturday 20th December. For more information in the production, visit here…