Love Riot review by Lola (work experience)


If you are looking to see a theatrical romantic comedy this summer, I highly recommend going to see Miracle Theatre’s delightfully remarkable touring production of Love Riot. I have been lucky enough to see this show twice, as part of my sixth form work experience placement, and I can truly say that Miracle did not disappoint in their reimagining of Hannah Cowley’s 18th century comedy. With phenomenal direction from Sally Crooks and James D’Arcy, and a versatile music soundtrack composed by Louis Gulliver King and James Forde Stewart (and many other amazing production elements that I’ll be talking about here!), Love Riot promises to be a wonderful show, breathing life into Regency England for audiences across the Southwest.  



The show was re-written by Hannah Mulder for a talented cast of five people, whom I was fortunate to meet during my work experience placement with Miracle. From assistance with the show get-in at Mount Pleasant Eco Park and watching a rehearsal before the second show, I found the camaraderie and dedication to be endearing and the talent to be remarkable. There was never a dull moment, and my face often hurt from laughing so much!  

Furthermore, the cast’s portrayal of their characters was incredibly effective, specifically when they had to undertake multi-rolling. Originally, the show was written by Cowley with approximately 20 characters, and thus, with this in consideration, the cast did a splendid job with multi-rolling. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between the incredible Daniel Richards’ portrayal of the flirtatious, outgoing character of Courtall and the introverted, kind and caring character of Sir George Touchwood. The differences in how these characters spoke, and a varied use of facial expressions, were carefully exerted. Despite the distinctions in characters, both characters were exceptionally comedic and were, along with the character of Hardy, brilliantly portrayed by Daniel.  

I also particularly loved the character of Letty, played by the fabulous Milly-Montgomery Smith, and the showing of clear subversion of typical gender expectations of the Regency era through her fragile though masculine character. The notion of her desire to marry for love, rather than to merely be matched with someone she shows no feelings towards, subverts these expectations. Traditionally, in the 18th century, the parents of sons and daughters who were to be matched played a crucial role in Regency courtship, often making the decisions for them, which is clearly displayed in Love Riot, Hardy matching Letty with the character of Doricourt. While there are significant nods to tradition in Regency England within the play, there are furthermore, elements of modern feminism through the character of Letty. Every character contributes to a very well adapted storyline, reflecting the rules and attitudes of the era in which the play is set, as well as defying them. 

Another performer that displayed incredible versatility onstage was the impeccable Danny Mellor, who played both the fabulous, fashionable character of Flutter and the refined, highly respected character of Doricourt. I particularly loved the feminine traits that Flutter exerted, which in turn, defied expectations of men at the time, which was truly well done.  


The costumes were another personal highlight of mine, having been so beautifully and intricately designed by Miracle’s costume designer, Jude Munden. The use of a royal colour scheme was very aesthetically pleasing to the eye with yet another strong nod to the Regency era. I, furthermore, loved the way in which the costume colour scheme spoke volumes about the different characters in the play, such as the use of purple for the character of Mrs. Racket’s costume, the character in question having been portrayed by the phenomenally talented Charlotte Merriam. Purple, generally, is associated with royalty, grandeur, power and ambition, which highlights Mrs. Racket’s independence and disregard for her late husband, her refinement and high status, thus reinforcing the idea that Love Riot is a powerful 18th century feminist comedy, which is further shown through the character of Lady Frances Touchwood, played by the funny and remarkably talented Sophia Dear. I found Lady Frances to show great devotion to her husband, yet she also appeared to be authoritative and unafraid to stand up for herself. She even says to “never underestimate a woman,” which shows a firm grip on power and modern feminism.

Another highlight regarding costumes was the masquerade ball. These costumes were so immensely detailed, along with, of course, the masks. Again, the remarkable attention to detail within the masquerade costumes was pleasing to the eye and represented the ball’s theme. The masquerade costumes were, without a doubt, my favourite, as along with the literal use of the masks, the metaphorical meaning grasps love’s evasive nature in a world with contradictory expectations and messages in the Regency era.  


The set for the show was remarkably created by Al Munden. A minimal set, a popular Brechtian theatrical technique, was used, yet it impeccably captured 18th century houses and venues for the masquerade balls that were utilised at the time.  

I particularly loved the use of the decor for the masquerade, with an animalistic colour scheme of green and yellow: bright, vibrant colours that clearly represented the theme of the masquerade along with the costumes.  


What is a masquerade ball without the music and dancing to go along with it? With music composed by Louis Gulliver King and James Forde Stewart, and the movement choreographed by Jen Fletcher, Love Riot breathes life into traditional Regency balls and dancing with Mozart-influenced classical pieces and ball-like physical theatre movement. While the traditional elements of 18th century balls are present, there is a further use of modernised music and dancing, and thus further defies these traditional expectations. Overall, the music was remarkably composed, and the dancing was beautifully choreographed and well syncopated, thus breathing life back into the Regency period through physical theatre to tell a gripping story.  

Ultimately, I highly recommend catching Love Riot if one can, before its conclusion of the tour on the 24th of August of this year. The production elements I have mentioned and more have been used to tell a beautiful, innovative and funny story, with praised elements of comedy, using both traditional Regency England elements as well as modern day, such as the upbeat music during the masquerade and the powerful presentation of feminist values from the play’s characters. As such, it would be disappointing for one to miss it. I wish this incredibly talented cast the best of luck for the rest of their tour!