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Remembrance Monday | Seven Dials Playhouse

Remembrance Monday, written by Michael Batten and directed by Alan Souza, is a tremendous exploration of mental health, homophobia, grief and love. The show follows a couple, Julius (Nick Hayes) and Connor (Matthew Stathers), on a looped Monday evening, with each repetition of the evening's events unravelling their perfect lives. The play is nothing short of magic.

The lighting design is glorious, transforming the small theatre into the inside of Julius' mind. Designer Jack Weir has created an evocative atmosphere with the use of flashing light, cold and hot lighting, splintered and fractured effects and this really emphasises the overwhelming sense of distortion. The quick blackouts and use of the mirror lights both cover the quick changes and provide a safe space for the characters to breathe. It's one of the best uses of lighting design that theatre has seen, bringing its own momentum to the play. Sarah Weltman's sound design further enhances this, with the use of echo, the unsettling hum of a buzz and the effect of a bell tingling and glass breaking. 

Set design, by Andrew Exeter, features a theatre in the round. With a bathtub and a mirrorless frame as the set, the play becomes an intimate, almost sacred space. The engagement that the actors have with these also contribute to the overall weight of the play. Matthew Stathers plays multiple characters, and uses three corners to enter and exit the stage, constantly surprising the audience with his presence. Dianté Lodge has created some stunning moments of movement with the cast, ranging from impressive dance with its delightful high jumps, to moving slow and descending into the depths of his own mind movement involving the bathtub. The movement flows so naturally yet brings such gravitas, especially with Hayes providing a staggering monologue alongside this. 

The two performers, Hayes and Stathers are stars and deliver breathtaking performances. The two have strong chemistry and natural banter with each other, and ensure that you fall in love with their characters. Stathers as Connor provides an anchor for the show with his charming, romantic and sensitive notions and his unwavering love towards Julius. His easy-going nature and idealistic vision is wonderfully countered by the darkness both inside their relationship and the external society. Hayes as Julius is wonderful casting and his performance makes the show the revelation that it is. The impact of his declining mental health, guilt and torment that is slowly exposed with every new version of the repeated Monday evening events is so thoughtfully and carefully portrayed, with superb direction by Alan Souza. His subtle differences in delivering lines as he is being overshadowed by his condition is a mesmerising watch and it's impossible to look away. 

Heartbreaking and powerful, Remembrance Monday is a show not to be missed as it's one of the most moving and beautifully crafted pieces that will grace London stages. The play's elements;- whether it's the characters, the effects, the writing, or the themes, will stay with you for a very very long time. Remembrance Monday is currently playing at the Seven Dials Playhouse until 1st June - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Danny Kaan


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