Windsor Theatre Royal – until 17 October 2020
Reviewed by Carly Burlinge
Love Letters By A.R. Gurney and Directed by Roy Marsden, is the story of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III (Martin Shaw) and Melissa Gardner (Jenny Seagrove).
When Andrew accepts an invitation to Melissa’s Birthday Party, Melissa then replies by writing a letter of thanks which starts correspondence between them that lasts for a lifetime.
Melissa Gardner ( Seagrove) comes from a rich but unsettled family she seems to be quite a rebel, at times is very funny and has a good sense of humour. She loves to paint, likes to enjoy life on the outside but seems very happy on the inside.
As a friendship begins they reminisce about their childhood memories. Their lifestyle choices as well as their hobbies and obligations they both have with all the stresses it holds and entails. Discussions and experiences with people that have crossed both their paths. Melissa likes to ask him for his advice not always happy with the reply! Over the years their relationship brings love, laughter and disappointment as well as searching for approval. As years pass letters of emotions and care become apparent.
Andrew (Shaw) comes from a good family and seems very disciplined with his life, comes across very matter of fact. He loves to write and continues to with Melissa. He’s very good at talking about his achievements, which can only agonise her at times although he only wishes to impress her. This show tells a beautiful story of a relationship that goes through many stages in life with much emotion, love, doubt, care, concern, passion, shame and sympathy as well as happiness discovered through the years.
The stage was dark and simple with two writing desks opposite each other, as letters were read back and forth between the pair with a spotlight on each of them giving a really exceptional personal effect.
Some scenes were done particularly well with so much emotion and heartfelt shown through the good connect they both shared on stage and well as dramatised silences which really set the scene.
I found this production wonderful and enjoyable to watch – it definitely drew in the audience along with many laughs throughout.