INTRIGUING Play on words works

Chris Wasser

Andrew always liked writing letters. Christmas and birthday cards, too. But he only ever felt alive when writing to Melissa. From the day he set eyes on her at school, he knew she was the one.

Too bad she didn't feel the same way -- about writing, that is. She liked Andrew. Maybe not as much as he liked her, but at least she kept his letters. And, even if it pained her to do so, she wrote back. Which is just as well, considering the premise of this intriguing two-hander from the mind of A R Gurney.

Indeed, everything happens on paper. Actually, it's already happened, for the ageing 'Andy' and his beloved Melissa have already lived their lives. Away from each other.

But, hey, they still have their letters. He sits in his study; bottle of liquor and box of papers at hand. She perches herself by a table, too, and opens up her own stash. And so their worlds collide -- the story of a mismatched pair who never could work things out, unfolding in front of our eyes. Or, at least, in our imagination.


Not that I'm in any way ruining the plot. They're both living in separate houses, knocking back the booze and sifting through old love letters ... this one clearly doesn't have a Hollywood ending. But it's the journey that's important, and despite some dodgy direction, Love Letters gets by on the strength of its neat storytelling method.

Jerry Hall (Mick Jagger's former missus), and David Soul ('Hutch' of Starsky and Hutch fame) are perfectly acceptable in their roles. One is clearly better skilled than the other (Soul acts; Hall reads), but there is at least a hint of chemistry here.

Sure, the ending is not nearly as effective as it might have been, but let's not blame Hall's inexperience.

Instead, let's be satisfied that this star studded show is actually worth a look. HHHII

Running at the Gaiety Theatre until Saturday