Title: Love Letters
Written By: A. R. Gurney
Director: Michael Scott
Starring: Jerry Hall and David Soul
Run: Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd June, The Gaiety Theatre
Love Letters has received excellent reviews worldwide. Its individuality stems from the fact that it is very minimal. Two actors sit on the stage, not leaving their chairs, and read letters that they’ve sent to each other. There is almost no music or sound effects. The lights consist of spotlights and lights on the back wall which change to signify time moving forward. Because of this, it requires two very good actors to carry it, to draw you into the story by only reading aloud.
Jerry Hall is probably best known for her supporting role in Tim Burton’s Batman as Alicia Cole, who is disfigured by the joker. She has also starred in a number of West End and Broadway productions. Her performance was mostly ok, although she probably was the wrong choice for the part; her Southern accent ruining the illusion of her character as a New York WASP.
David Soul is the big name in this production. Having starred as Hutch in Starsky and Hutch, as well having roles in Magnum Force and Salem’s Lot, he was a familiar face to most of the audience. Similarly this burly man didn’t exactly seem to represent the character of Andy, an upright young man who would graduate from Yale and then become a senator. Not only that, but just as you might be getting drawn into the play he would inevitably trip over his words. This happened numerous times. Both performances showed that being a good actor on screen doesn’t necessaily translate to the stage.
The play itself was fascinating. It follows the journeys of these two upper class characters, Andy and Melissa, from childhoods spent in summer camps, through to their strict boarding schools, travels throughout the world, different careers and separate marriages. The letters themselves are very revealing without saying much at all. You listen as the characters grow up and to a certain extent, get swept away by life.
The main lesson from the play is that you can’t wait for the stars to align and your chips to fall into place if you want to be with someone. It’s also an interesting commentary on how people communicate; Melissa tries to get Andy to call her on the telephone instead but he prefers the medium of writing. Now that we’re moving back towards the written word, through e-mail and social networking, this in itself presents new challenges.
In a Nutshell: Love Letters is well written and very funny in parts. However, this particular production needs a lot of polishing.
By Elizabeth O’Malley