Where is Love (2023), theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Review

Screen made from a sheet; actor washes behind the screen while still talking.
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Bloomin’ Buds Theatre Company
Jennifer Johnson (Writer); Grace Wilkinson (Director); Katie Mahon (Producer); Claire O’Connor. (Musical Director & Composer); Ellie Cansdale (Technical Director); Charlotte Byers (Script Editor)
Maeve Brannen (Shelly)
Running time

Inspired by a true story and exploring the challenging themes of complicated family situations, domestic abuse, the impact of education on women’s futures, and the ability to rise above these challenges, Where is Love is a powerful, yet ultimately uplifting production. What is particularly well done with this play is how much humour is included within the show, despite its difficult subject areas: it does not shy away from the difficult subjects but instead let the audience see that life has many sides to it.

What was unexpected was that this play is a one-woman show, but actor Maeve Brannen gives an outstanding performance, telling the story of Shelly, following her through childhood, parenthood, through to finding her own dreams. Brannen is skilful in her ease at making us laugh along with her, and at the way in which she embodies the physicality of a young woman in one moment and a mother with the weight of the world on her shoulders in the next moment. The punctuation of a voiceover from the inspiration for the piece, the real-life Shelly, made the impact of each part of the storytelling even stronger.

There is clever use of the limited stage space, and with the adaptable stage props – washing line, washing bowls, clothes and a sheet, all become different items thanks to the skilful direction of Grace Wilkinson. The musical soundscape throughout brings a subtle emotional connection to the onstage journey and complements the entire performance. For such a hard-hitting and heart-breaking story, this piece leaves us with hope, no mean feat. It will remain with you for quite some time afterwards.

Show Time: 14-26 August (not 20) @ 12:50

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Ticket Prices: £8-£10


Accessibility: Wheelchair access type: Level Access; Suitability: 14+ (guidance)