To be young again… a phrase that many women think over as they sit anxiously watching every day slowly pass. This is particularly true for the vivacious women in Seven Letters, who have found themselves living the last years of their lives lonely and restless.
Rian Flatley’s Seven Letters is a comedic play that uncovers three powerful narratives through dramatic storytelling. Set in a retirement home, three passionate women chat over a cup of tea and a crossword puzzle. Throughout their endless hours finishing crosswords, flashbacks of their pasts appear in monologues and alluring songs. As the past begins to haunt them, the women fight back painful memories in hopes to welcome more joyous and youthful days.
Teresa Jennings, as Faye, a witty lady who longed for her youth, beautifully introduced the narrative of the play. With a spark in her eye and skip in her step, Faye was a woman many would envy at her age. Though, flashbacks haunted Faye of troubling times with her grandmother, dramatically performed by Mary Drake, Faye’s spirit stayed strong when Stacey Leigh, as her younger self, mesmerised the audience with emotional ballads.
Sitting next to Faye were her dear friends Tempie and Lena, performed by Clare Gollop and Kate Winder. We soon learned as the crosswords sparked more memories, Tempie and Lena had their own challenges during their youth. Hannah, performed by Linny Bushey, appeared in and out of the scenes as a forgetful woman who was living in her past. Desperately wanting to go home, she was guided out of the room by Summer a Care Giver, performed by Alice Taylor. Taylor brought some lively youth to the play; however, her actions and direction throughout the scenes seemed heavily staged.
This play is a tribute to everyday women who go through life with shame weighing on their hearts. These are women who suffer from love, abandonment, hope and heartbreaks. The characters in this play – no matter what troubles fell at their feet – kept their heads up and moved on. Seven Letters reminds us that our youth goes by all to quickly as our passing seems to drag on for far too long.
Review by Aly Chromy
Rian Flatley’s play Seven Letters is a poignant story of three spirited women whose circumstances have brought them together.
Their past lives are told through flashbacks, graphic monologues and song.
It is a witty and thought-provoking story, powerfully delivered by an all female cast and singer.
by Rian Flatley
2 Bath Road
London, W4 1LW
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes, 15 interval