Review- Love Letters- Brave Heart Theatre


By: Lisa Middleton


Love Letters by A.R. Gurney premiered on Broadway in 1988 and has seen a multitude of famous actors take on the role of Melissa Gardener and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III.  It was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama – Driving Miss Daisy won in case you’re interested.  


This production of Brave Heart’s Love Letters was a very different kind of play for me – it is simplistic and at the same time genius.  Using the epistolary form found in novels which I have long been a fan of since reading Bram Stokers Dracula, the two actors sit side by side at tables and read notes, letters and postcards, starting from early childhood, going through teenage turmoil, showing how each of the characters developed at different stages and it spans nearly 50 years!  They discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats – I was sucked in almost immediately. (I didn’t even refill my glass of wine once during the show!)


The clever introduction of characters in the letters such as parents and school friends really helped portray how these two characters were shaped in life and quite possibly how they were destined to end up.  What I loved was the obvious difference in levels of maturity between a boy and a girl and subsequently a man and a woman – neither of them were in synch for much of the play and benchmarking phrases made this clear, before coming full circle. It brought home with clarity how much of real life is all about the timing – meeting the right person at the wrong time, (who hasn’t?) 


The two actors, Andy Chworowsky and Jennie Parker, performed with wonderful timing and flair. They did not break character once and watching facial expressions portray reactions, mirroring each others feelings, only added humour and emotion to the entire production.  It is no easy feat to perform for 90 minutes with the focus being solely on you or your fellow actor, so for this I applaud both of the actors for a job well done.  The female character will rotate through two other actresses – Sarah Martin and Nina Kwok but I would like to think that this will not detract from the connection witnessed in the premier of the show, indeed it might make me want to see it more than once (checks her diary).


One negative aspect for me was the technology required to get more information about the play and the performers – I am a technophobe, I admit it... First I had to download the QR reader on my iPhone, which then took me to an unknown realm of other downloads, and then my battery died and then I wasn’t sure if I had bought a mail-order bride from Russia or indeed just had the programme. I understand the concept of living in a digital age and saving the environment, but I would like to see an alternative offered that is easily accessible to technology challenged audience members.    


Love Letters is very simple, no frills and solely relies on the performers talents and chemistry. This show might not be for every audience member that likes their theatre with jazz hands and glitter, but for those wanting a good story and interesting characters, it works.


The show performs twice nightly, Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm and 9pm, and with free beer included from sponsor Scapa Scandia it really makes for a great value night out – before or after dinner.  


The opening night performance benefitted KELY Support Group which is a non-government funded bilingual organisation which provides empathetic, non-judgmental, confidential and inclusive support to youth between the ages of 14 to 24 in Hong Kong. Their programmes and services focus on drug and alcohol prevention and intervention and are specially designed to tackle the root causes of abuse, including boredom, peer pressure, lack of self-awareness, low self-esteem, poverty, unemployment, and discrimination. Fern Ngai from the charity was on hand for the opening night for any questions and gave a brief explanation of their vital work at the end of the play.  


Love Letters is playing through March 14th at Premium Sofa Club. For more information, click here. 

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.7


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