Sunday, July 21

Remembrance Monday – Seven Dials Playhouse

Watching Remembrance Monday, I was reminded of a description I’ve always liked of memories that I read in an interview. The interviewee (it may have been Florence Welch but don’t quote me on that), talked about memories being like photocopies of photocopies, blurring gradually over time as you get further and further away from the original. And so it is with Julius (Nick Hayes), as his recollections of what initially appears to be a regular Monday night with husband Connor (Matthew Stathers) quickly take a much darker turn.

In Remembrance Monday, playwright Michael Batten weaves seeds of doubt and confusion very early on, presenting questions about the reliability of Julius’s narration. I’ll keep this a spoiler free zone, but I will say that the twists and unfolding of the plot are perfectly paced, so the intrigue and the realisations keep coming over the 80 minutes leaving the audience rapt but satisfied as each conclusion is revealed. The dialogue is carefully crafted to give you a clear idea of Julius and Connor’s characters without labouring the facts. You are given access to an intimate moment shared between two perfect husbands, whose love and affection for each other is immediately obvious from the jokes and back and forth they share. The beautiful writing is more than done justice in the performances; to say the whole thing flows perfectly sounds like a lazy cliche but there’s no other way to describe it.

Something else that really struck me was the impact of the set design (Andrew Exeter) – despite operating in a space no bigger than about 3 metres squared, the stage never feels overcrowded. Under Alan Souza’s direction, each centimetre feels like it has been considered and optimised and with the audience surrounding the stage everyone enjoys a decent and unique view – perhaps in the same way we are being invited to form a view of what is unfolding. Jack Weir’s lighting compliments this so nicely, again doing a lot with a little – the lighting elevates the piece and almost becomes a second layer of staging, which I really enjoyed.

This for me was a really special piece of theatre. It deals with some punchy issues but in the most sensitive way, with the dialogue providing enough comic relief to balance out the tears. Running to the 1st June at the lovely Seven Dials Playhouse, this has plenty to recommend it and is definitely deserving of a packed audience each night – so hurry up and book, you won’t be disappointed!

Reviewer: Zoe Meeres

Reviewed: 26th April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.