This story of Sam, the educated homeless girl who starts begging beside the memorial of a boy who died after being stabbed, and the people she encounters, cannot fail to make you question the way society is.
Sam encounters many people throughout her daily life, most of whom look straight through her or ignore her, yet there are three people she meets time and time again, all of whom interact with her. The father of the victim, Andy, would do anything to get her moved on; the posh student, Jamie, who wants to help and makes her do star jumps in the street; the policewoman investigating the murder, Julia, who knows there’s more to Sam, than meets the eye- why is an educated girl who has read Dickens and Hardy out on the streets and why did she choose this spot?
As the play progressed I was forced to question the way that I act every day on the way to and from work. I, like so many others, look through people begging, assuming, as Andy does, that if I give them money they will spend it on alcohol or drugs. Yet Amy Cornwell does a fantastic job of making us see Sam as a person with a story who is just making the best of a difficult situation. Throughout the show I started to really sympathise and care for her because as a middle-class, white and educated person she made me realise it could have been me.
As the story progresses several clues lead you towards the eventual ending. I worked out where the story was going relatively early on but that didn’t make the ending any less poignant when it came thanks once again to the fantastic portrayal of Sam by Amy Cornwell. I even shed a few tears as the story resolved itself although I was left with more questions than answers – how did Sam end up homeless, what happens to her now? I really wanted to know she was OK, such was the strength of her character.
The four actors, Amy Cornwell (Sam), Tim Gibson (Jamie), Cameron Robertson (Andy) and Emma Pring (Julia) do an excellent job of making you sympathise with characters who you wouldn’t normally have much time for if you met them in everyday life. Moreover they make the story seem personal and real. As a result of this the wonderful story was able to shine, making a clear point about society.
What will I take away from the play? Well ultimately I might think before I ignore someone begging next time. Maybe next time I will spare some change for them and maybe I will stop and think about their story, after all they are humans too.
Review by Emily Diver
LETTERS FROM EVERYONE
Written by Steven Lally, Directed by Niall Philips
I wasn’t going to write a letter. It would only make me feel better and I don’t want to. Feeling like this is the last bit of you I have.
Sam is a homeless girl who begs by and obsessively reads the letters by a roadside memorial. Andy is the grieving father who’s desperate to move her. Jamie’s a posh kid who thinks he can help. And Julia. She’s a copper whose instincts tell her that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Letters from Everyone is a play about how we live and grieve. About the hold the dead have over the living. Most of all it’s about the story that connects these characters to the girl who lives on the streets of an otherwise anaesthetized London.
LETTERS FROM EVERYONE
Drayton Arms Theatre in a co-production with Lonesome Schoolboy Productions
Tuesday 25 November – Saturday 20 December, 8pm (3pm matinees), 80 mins
Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, SW5 0LJ
£15 Full / £12 Concessions
www.thedraytonarmstheatre.co.uk | 020 7835 2301
Warning: Strong imagery and language. 16+
Thursday 11th December 2014