Holden Street Theatres
Until 01 Mar 2018

Review by Sarah Westgarth

transport: verb.
1. to take or carry (people or goods) from one place to another by means of a vehicle, aircraft, or ship.
2. to cause someone to feel that they are in another place or time.
3. overwhelm (someone) with a strong emotion, especially joy.

In a blank, black room, a lone bus seat sits in the centre of a stage. Beside it is a small garbage can, overflowing with scraps of paper, tickets, and other rubbish. As the house lights go down and the stage lights go up, Molly Taylor takes her place on the seat and begins to tell her story. From the moment she speaks she has the audience with her, and for the next hour, she takes them on a journey across time, place and human experience; it’s a ride well worth going on.

The primary narrative is Taylor’s own account of love and loss, honestly and earnestly told. A romantic relationship leads to an obsession with public transport, as she becomes fascinated by the nameless, anonymous people that are responsible for the life journeys we are constantly taking.

Interwoven with this, Taylor simultaneously tells two other tales, connected by the idea that for every significant moment in our lives, there is an oft-forgotten ride that got us there. Characters of all shades come to life in Taylor’s expert hands, a credit to both her writing and her performance. There are moments of both humour and heartbreak, which Taylor guides her audience through with effortless charm.

The show is a masterwork of storytelling. Every word is meticulously chosen, yet the emotion in her delivery feels spontaneous and authentic. The black room is transported into a city bus, to a crowded pub, to the cosy home of a loving couple, with nothing but a subtle shift in her position, or an adjustment in her tone. The pictures Taylor paints with her cascading metaphors and vivid vocal expression are captivating, to the point where, when the lights dim at the conclusion of the performance, you wish for her to continue telling you stories into the night.

In a world that often feels oppressively cynical, “Love Letters To The Public Transport System” is joyful in its exploration of finding wonder in the mundane. Hope and gratitude are two qualities of which we can never have too much, and Molly Taylor delivers both.

Rating: 4 ½ stars (out of 5)