Hopeless brings a succinct and optimistic message (3 stars)

Hopeless brings a a succinct and optimistic message

Leyla Josephine draws on personal experiences when exploring how to survive in today's political climate

For a show titled Hopeless, there's an awful lot of unequivocal, heart-warming hope at the core of Leyla Josephine's exploration of how to survive in today's disheartening political climate. As Josephine memorably states, hope is 'a glimmer in the dark' and a reminder of what 'we are fighting for'; a succinct and optimistic message that shines through the entirety of this compelling show.

Highly autobiographic and emotionally resonant, Hopeless sweeps from Josephine's own experiences volunteering at an Athens refugee camp to her retracing of her great-grandfather's route as an Irish immigrant. Underlying her observations is a wryly funny and often appealingly silly comedic routine – think literally hiding under duvets and joking about finding God after difficult times – yet one that occasionally veers into predictability.

Despite that, Hopeless's minimal use of props is a real comedic and poignant highlight: in an understated and blank set, the duvet and accompanying bag of swiftly-eaten crisps act as a surprisingly evocative emblem of sadness and individual futility, conjuring the sense of a person who does not know how to make a lasting difference in a hopeless world.

Yet the strengths of Hopeless lie not in the loud, vociferous rants or outpourings of strident music – a device which rather serves to distract from the appropriately righteous points Josephine seeks to make – but in the expressive, beautifully spoken poetry and moments of quiet hope. An intriguing message from a talented new performer.

Run ended.


Leyla Josephine is hopeless. She's had enough. Shes been staying in bed all day, refusing to watch the news, eating full Viennettas at 1pm. She's been struggling through these difficult times. Hopeless examines human suffering through quick-fire poetry and dark comedy. Leyla asks whether we can really make a difference…