Love Steps from Anastasia Osei-Kuffour

Unlucky in Love? Love Steps By Anastasia Osei-Kuffour May Have The Answers You Have Been Looking For.

At one point or another, I am sure we have all asked ourselves: When will it be my turn? When will I get the chance to experience that great love books and movies talk about as if it were a God-given right? On Thursday I had the great pleasure of peaking behind the curtain of one woman’s story that isn’t all sunshine, roses and easily-maintained relationships.

Love Steps, written and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, uses poetry, dance, drama and music to delve into what it means to be a black woman looking for love in the modern age. The Omnibus Theatre in Clapham provides a necessary stage for a story that is painfully relatable as we join Anna (Sharon Rose) and the friends and relationships (all played by Reece Richards) she makes on her way to finding the love of her life.

Sharon Rose and Reece Richards in Love Steps – Credit: Steve Gregson

Love Steps chronicles three years in Anna’s life. We meet our main character at the age of 34, stuck in a rut and too stubborn to change her ways. Anna wants a fairytale romance, she wants to meet “The One” and be swept off her feet in the process, married and have kids to appease herself, and what she believes success and happiness to be, and to pacify her nagging parents. She has a detailed list of all the things that this hypothetical man must be and have (tall, handsome, have a job… ), yet when her happily married and settled friends ask her what she is doing to actually go out and secure this future for herself, Anna finds that her efforts are less than sufficient. After fruitlessly swiping on dating apps in an attempt to kickstart her dating life, Anna begins to meet and interact with men who fall short of her list by miles.

Though the premise of this story is one that is felt across the globe, this isn’t just anyone’s life, this is the life and the struggles of Anna, a black woman living in 2024 London. She faces additional feelings of inadequacy and exploitation that underline every one of her relationships both real and hypothetical. While the Anna we first meet is high-spirited and cheerful, there is that very real sense that underneath it all her treatment as a black woman in these romantic spaces has taken its toll on her confidence. Rose embodies Anna masterfully, toeing the line between warmly inviting the audience in to experience just a snippet of her life, whilst delivering devastating poetry that belies a more sinister and sadder truth. Playing off her costar Richards brilliantly, their great chemistry is utilised to the max as Richards embodies every other character in Anna’s life. From her mother and father, well-meaning friends and boyfriend of two years, Richards fills each of his roles as though they were his only character. I found myself somewhat disappointed that we didn’t get to see Richards in the shoes of a character who had more to do and say.

Sharon Rose in Love Steps – Credit: Steve Gregson

Without giving away exactly how Anna’s relationships fare, it’s important to mention that Anna is not perfect. Osei-Kuffour has done an excellent job of creating a character who experiences highs and lows and everything in between, without falling into the trap of becoming self-involved and unrealistic. Anna doesn’t pity herself, nor does she think herself absolved of blame. At times Anna’s speech to the audience felt like a therapy session, as she learns to adjust to life with a partner after being on her own for so long. It is refreshing to meet a protagonist who doesn’t have all of the answers even at the end of their story. 

The final aspect that makes Love Steps what it is, is the use of movement around the stage. The set design is very minimal, just a projection sheet that depicts the titles of each section of the play, and a lot of empty space for the two actors to fill. I was somewhat trepidatious about how the two would hold the audience’s attention with only their words and no props, but by the end of the 75-minute run-time, I appreciated dance and movement as a prop all on its own.

Sharon Rose and Reece Richards in Love Steps – Credit: Steve Gregson

Choreographer Leroy ‘FX’ Dias Dos Santos does a superb job of combining the lights and movements of characters to convey love, rejection, hate and heartbreak. The actors also do well to move so beautifully around each other whilst saying very complex and emotional spoken poetry.

This play is a must-see for those still looking for their life partner and those who have found love already. It’s witty and engaging, with multiple moments that had the audience laughing and nodding along with Anna and her trials and tribulations in love. 

Love Steps runs until April 20th at the Omnibus Theatre. Find out more here.

Then transfers to TALAWA from 29th May to 1st June

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For the Culture
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