Love Letter Straight from the Heart
Venue: Latitude Festival, Cabaret Tent
Univited Guests invite you to talk part in Love Letter Straight from the Heart an interactive theatre piece somewhere between a radio request show and a wedding reception, created out of the audiences own stories.
Prior to taking my seat in the Latitude Cabaret tent, I had been asked by Uninvited Guests, the theatre company responsible for Love Letters…, to request a piece of music for someone I loved with the promise this would form a part of the show I was about to see. The thought that the show would be like sitting through am hour long radio request show, was not one that I relished. It was therefore a welcome surprise that the company had wholeheartedly created a piece of theatre rich with inventive drama and poignant moments.
Love Letters… started with a monologue about days around the world devoted to the celebration of love, the audience were told that today was in fact Valentines Day, this was greeted with the kind collective awkwardness that seems to face these very self-concious dramatic conceits. Yet this awkwardness quickly melted as the two DJs, Jessica Hoffman and Richard Dufty began to recount the audiences dedications all while they acted out their own love affair with long languorous looks and nervous smiles before our eyes.
Something about the mixture of real life stories and fictional romance had an almost uncanny effect on the assembled audience. The moments of realisation as people noticed their dedications were being read out, created this exciting and unexpected tension, the feeling of being exposed. More than a few tears were shed as we moved between the different facets of relationships.
Through the course of the show the pair asked the audience to participate in experiments, for instance staring into the eyes of the person opposite you for the duration of Johnny Cash’s version of The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face. The piece consistently threatened to teeter into the area of mawkish audience participation, but always managed to push through to something real, effecting and emotional.
The one criticism was the shows length. The ‘request’ format did not seem to fully justify the running time of over an hour and it became somewhat repetitious as it drew to a close. Yet this said it is rare that a theatrical experience resonates with its audience in so many ways and and so many levels as in Love Letters… Uninvited Guests have created something quite unique that will surely delight audiences in Edinburgh this summer.