4 Min Read

Acting in Defiance: Love Letters to the Revolution (review)

When we examine what it means to experience a ‘revolution’, we rarely see it as something which can happen at an individual level.

Instead, it’s most often associated with large political uprisings; something which is to be feared and is out of our control. Sian Murphy’s Love Letters to the Revolution, challenges this common perception, by showing us how we can lead and generate our own, personal, revolutions.

Appropriately set at a house party, let’s be honest… a lot goes down at house parties, we dip and dive between dozens of scenes where people, from different stages and walks in life, experience their own form of revolution; both big and small.

Stephanie Somerville in Love Letters to the Revolutions. Photography by Daniel Grant.

The show opens with a stirring monologue performed by Stephanie Somerville, where the show’s themes and mixed tones are established. We soon move onto meeting the rest of the cast including Marlanie Haerewa, Elisa Williams, Jono Battista and James McMillian; who’s the only actor to play the same ‘character’ throughout the show (it’s more of an ominous figure).

Almost immediately the audience breaks into laughter attributed to a mix of the cast’s physical comedy and excellent delivery of the witty writing.  Each performer absolutely thrives in these comedic moments, carving out their own memorable highlights in the show. A special mention must go to Marlanie who demonstrated the best hair flicking I’ve ever seen.

Although there’s a lot comedy, the show does often explore deeper and darker scenes. The actors navigate these scenes well, delivering them with great authenticity and integrity. This is especially important as many of these scenes are based on people’s real stories and experiences, which Sian Murphy talks about here.

Jono Battista and Elisa Williams in Love Letters to the Revolutions. Photography by Daniel Grant.

In her dual role as writer and director Sian Murphy has absolutely delivered. She’s brought to life her fun, genuine and clever script with dynamic directing choices, which offered up many unexpected moments that kept the audience engaged, while also creating distinctions between the multiple scenes.

Bar a few topics of the moment such as, “TikTok told me I have ADHD”, the majority of dialogue contains conversations we’ve all likely to have had. These include discussions around climate change, exercise and weight, sexual assault, disability access and inclusion, racism, marriage and divorce, and more. The natural style of interaction around these topics made them feel relatable without being forceful or relying on cliches. 

Em Burrows’ sound design stitches these vignettes together, allowing them to feel individual yet still ‘at the same party’. The music flows through the production, seamlessly establishing the right tone for each scene (and she definitely got people moving in their seats).

Elisa Williams and Jono Battista in Love Letters to the Revolutions. Photography by Daniel Grant.

Despite the clue being in the name of the show, it took me a while to connect with the fact that each scene had ended with a character experiencing their own form of revolution. The concept was initially lost on me because I hadn’t made the link that personal revolutions exist.

Witnessing the experiences presented in this production has given me a new understanding of what it means to undergo a revolution. Love Letters to the Revolution demonstrates that although they can be big and intimidating, revolutions can also be small and happen in fleeting moments.

These are moments which allow us to connect with ourselves, while defying perceptions of us and paths set out for us.

Love Letters to the Revolution is running at The Blue Room Theatre from now to the 23rd of October.