If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to close your eyes and remember evenings at the theatre which have changed your life. For me, the show that changed my life was Labels and the evening in question was the 7th April 2016.
I was lost in a dark corner of Stratford, on my way to review a show for Wilma at a theatre I’d never been to before. My friend had bailed on me. It was raining. I’d forgotten my favourite notebook. But eventually I arrived and got my soggy paws on a glass of wine…and then the show started.
It was brilliant. It was simply brilliant. Labels is all about heritage and identity, and it’s still one of the most intelligent deconstructions of racial prejudice I’ve ever encountered. The show’s writer and performer, Joe Sellman-Leava, had me absolutely spellbound.
So I got brave, and I approached him after the show to tell him how much I loved it. I had to wait in a queue of people wanting to congratulate him. I was shy, but he smiled warmly and shook my hand. And the next day we exchanged Twitter messages. And he suggested a coffee to carry on the conversation. And then we decided to go for drinks. And now, almost a year on, he’s my boyfriend. I’ve now seen Labels six times (I deserve some kind of award).
I’m writing this to give a big shout out to West End Wilma, theatre blogger supremo and matchmaker extraordinaire. Also, just to let you know that Labels is back in London this week, at the awesome VAULT Festival at 21.30 from Wednesday 1st to Sunday 5th with a Saturday matinee at 14.45. If you missed it last time, you can get your tickets to this award-winning and critically-acclaimed show here, but please try not to fall for my boy…
By Annabel Mellor