Thursday, 9 May 2013

Love Letters

Dundee Rep
3 stars
In these hi-tech days of texting, sexting and social media immediacy, 
it's hard to credit the power of an old-fashioned hand-written love 
letter and the yearningly painful gaps between each exchange. This 
probably wasn't what American playwright AR Gurney was thinking when he 
penned this Pulitzer Prize nominated two-hander about two people who 
retain an intimacy across half a century of billets-doux, but it does 
explain its popularity.

So, however, does the play's status as a star vehicle, as many of those 
who packed the theatre to see former Dempsey and Makepeace TV double 
act and real life husband and wife Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber in 
action would no doubt bear witness to. Not that there's much action, as 
the pair sit at separate tables to give voice to the life-long romance 
between the dependably dull Andrew and the more mercurially 
self-destructive Melissa.

 From the moment Andrew accepts an invitation to Melissa's second grade 
birthday party, a bond is formed between them that moves from teenage 
flirtation to  bad marriages to other people and beyond. In a classic 
portrait of opposites attracting, where Andrew turns to law, then 
politics, Melissa becomes a successful artist until her fragile state 
of being finally gives up the ghost.

While affecting enough in Ian Talbot's production set against a stage 
wall image of skyscrapers at night, as Brandon and Barber move from the 
pair's initial juvenalia to the everyday tragedies of their later 
years, it's more reading than theatre. Only in the last twenty minutes 
do sparks really start to fly in a sad and funny portrait of an affair 
that only latterly went beyond the words that defined it.

The Herald, May 9th 2013


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sparks were flying from the start for me.This was so much more than just reading it was brilliant acted by both the Brandons. Amazingly funny and incredibly emotional. Could watch it again and again.