Review by Monique Thompson
Andrew Makepeace Ladd III wrote his first letter to Melissa Gardner to tell her she looked like a lost princess. They were both seven years old. For the next fifty years, through personal triumphs and despair, through wars and marriages and children and careers, they poured out the secrets of their hearts to each other. They defied a fate that schemed to keep them apart, and lived for the one most meaningful thing, their undying love for each other.
Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw from the 70’s movie, ‘Love Story’ reunite onstage in a two person only cast for Love Letters. Most musicals are high energy featuring powerful singing and sometimes even gravity defying dance numbers. Love Letters is everything but that as the two veteran actors facilitate an entire 90-minute production of reading letters. Think about an adult story time and Ali and Ryan are the narrators.
The couple takes turns each reading a letter written by their character (Andrew and Melissa) who grew up as childhood friends and kept in touch over half a century by writing letters and postcards to each other. They both are the perfect narrators as they captivate the audience simply with their voice, facial expressions, and hand gestures, all while sitting at a desk the entire production. While it was totally not what I expected, their inflection and simplicity of reading while making you visualize the story was quite different and it actually worked for the pair. As long as you’re not expecting an acted out production, Love Letters is exactly that, letters read out loud.