Love Letters Straight from Your Heart at Fuel Theatre Online
A surprisingly simple yet moving concept, Uninvited Guests’ Love Letters Straight from Your Heart is a charming piece of theatre created with the intention of celebrating love and connectedness during the draining isolation of the Covid-19 lockdown. Two actors – Richard Dufty and Jess Hoffmann – perform a range of pieces submitted in advance by the audience to music selected by the same. These take the form of love letters – or small dedication pieces – to people they love, whether they are currently with them or not. The result is an occasionally corny, even almost cheesy experience, but it ultimately results in an endearing celebration of love which succeeds on most levels.
It’s St Valentine’s Day, Richard tells us at the beginning of the performance, as he, Jess and the audience drink a toast “to us” and to love. After an initial collage of various random songs about love, they start reading the dedications and playing the according songs – and it is beautiful. A lot of the pieces are extremely well-written and range in tone from funny and silly to heart-wrenchingly sad; some are dedicated to boy and girlfriends, others to wives and husbands, parents or colleagues – and sometimes to the dead.
The power of this concept comes from the passion that the audience has when contributing towards the experience – they are asked to write about their loved ones and thereby put a lot of effort into it. The result is astounding: Jess’s and Richard’s performances of each dedication are spot-on and they turn every moment into gold. But it’s also the diversity of voices, and the fact that these pieces are written by real and unique human beings, that hook you from start to finish – as do the wide selection of songs, ranging from Johnny Cash’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, via Debussy’s Claire de Lune, to Glenn Miller’s jazz.
It’s an incredibly moving, uplifting, gut-wrenching experience. A montage of beautiful voices during the lockdown, it succeeds in doing something which is absolutely essential in these harsh times: giving us a sense of community and connectedness in our celebration of love.
Love Letters is at Home from 20th May until 26th June 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.