Review: ★★★★ Loop, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Reviews by David and Ruth will bring forth two very differing perspectives. Ruth is a theatre enthusiast who, let’s be honest, knows what she’s talking about. The hope is that her thoughts on the shows she reviews will be of use for those who also share a passion for theatre. David on the other hand offers the unique viewpoint of having very limited theatre experience. This will hopefully cater to those who want to introduce people to theatre for the first time, or who want a show which they can drag their partners along to.

Loop. A show tracing the development of music throughout the 20th Century, honing in on the intertwined lives of four individuals. Loop echoes the old saying that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’, that though every generation thinks their music is the ‘next revolutionary idea’, it’s really always been the same. The show brings forward the idea that music not only inspires, but it unites, settles and drives people; in a way that only music can.


My first impression of Loop was one of simplicity and minimalism, given the very basic set design, and the cast consisting of only four members. However, this was used to fixate the audiences attention onto the actors and the plot, rather than any big lights or fancy staging. The storyline which showed the tightly-linked lives of four characters was fun and relatable, allowing audiences to draw parallels with their own lives, especially through the likeable characters; there were several movements when I was reminded of quirks and patterns evident in my own family. These stories, based on generational differences, familial struggles and romantic relationships entertained and engaged the audience, which drove home the idea of music being a central feature of everyday life. The cyclical nature of the play, linking with the name ‘Loop’, brought forward a sense of familiarity, and the repetition of ideas was key in reinforcing the point that each generation believes their music will be the well-needed change the world needs, but in reality is merely a distorted reflection of generations gone by.


I’ll be honest, when I walked into the ‘Gerry’ room at the Theatre Royal Stratford East my expectations were low. My only experience of theatre prior to this was amateur High School and College productions, and the set of Loop did little to make me expect anything more than that. That said, I loved Loop. It showed the power that music can have. Whether it was Lucy Annable’s brilliant opening monologue showcasing the relaxing familiarity that music can bring, Aaron Price and Emily Costello comically showing how music can unite two unlikely individuals, or James Demaine showing the immense drive music can instil in a person; Loop had it all. It’s definitely a show that I’d recommend if you want to introduce a friend to the world of theatre and it will certainly give you lots to chat about by the end.

To sum up? We would both highly recommend going to see Loop while you still can. It’s accessible, entertaining and very reasonably priced at £12 per ticket. Our only criticism would be that the suggested age recommendation of 13+ is a little too low, as there is maybe more strong language than advertised! However, we both agree that Loop deserves to be given a chance on the bigger stage.

Ruth Barrett and David Upton

Emma Betty
Emma Betty

Emma Betty is 28 and a nurse in Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. Emma has the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Soundtrack (On CD!) to blame for her love for Musical Theatre, which she found in her parents living room pretty much as soon as she was old enough to know what it was. She began combining her love for Theatre, the Internet and Writing while she was still at school, through various blogs and on social media. Having moved to London in 2013, she launched Upper Circle 4 years later. A couple of years on, she is delighted to have a small team and is so grateful to those helping Upper Circle to grow every day!

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