Review: Love Letters at Simcoe Little Theatre

Love Letters Poster
Love Letters by A.R. Gurney

“A unique, thought-provoking journey”

By Mike Renzella

The Haldimand Press

SIMCOE—Love Letters, the latest show to grace the stage at Simcoe’s iconic Little Theatre, is thought-provoking, occasionally very funny, and occasionally enough to make you squirm in your seat as the complicated relationship of the play’s only characters, Andrew and Melissa, plays out before you.

The show has a unique format focused solely on the two main characters – played by Chris Verge and Gloria Mitchell for the show’s initial week of performances – sitting at a pair of desks, facing forward, and never once getting up. 

The two recite various letters they wrote to each other over the course of a life-long friendship, delving into their innermost feelings.

The show admittedly takes a few minutes to find its footing, as the audience adjusts to the unique style of storytelling, but the deeper we get into these two characters’ letters and lives, the more the story gets its hooks into you.

Directed by Melissa Collver, Love Letters features bursts of unexpected humour as Andy and Melissa express their frustrations and emotions over a series of meet-ups, will-they-won’t-they scenarios, and the pangs of seeing the other move forward in life on their own path. 

The show has some strong language, and discussions on sexuality that may not be fully appreciated by a younger crowd attending with their families, but the complicated relationship between the two characters takes several surprising turns, at times joyful and exuberant and others sorrowful and mixed with a longing for the past, ultimately ending in a place that leaves the audience with a lot to think about on the drive home.

Verge and Mitchell each brought a distinct, lived-in feel to their characters, especially given the constraints of the show’s narrative structure. By the end, I felt as though I had known the pair almost as deeply as they knew each other. The play will bring in a second set of actors for its second week, with Andy Blackwood and Cara Blackwood taking the stage.

While perhaps not for everybody, for those yearning for an old-fashioned story of friendship, love, family, and loss, with thought-provoking themes and a unique style, Love Letters has what you’re looking for. 

If you’re interested, you better act quickly! Love Letters’ final performances take place March 9-12 at the Simcoe Little Theatre, with performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

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