Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Love Letters"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone

"Love Letters"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mill River Dinner Theater's current show is A.R. Gurney's poignant and comic, "Love Letters". He wittily captures the manners of upper-middle class WASP America. Tracing the lifelong correspondence of the staid, dutiful lawyer Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and the lively, unstable artist Melissa Gardner, the story of their bittersweet relationship gradually undfolds from what is written and what is left unsaid in their letter. The correspondence between these two childhood friends begins in 2nd Grade with birthday party thank you notes and summer camp postcards. Romantically attached they continue exchanging lettes through the boarding school and college years where Andy goes on to excel at Yale and law school, while Melissa flunks out of a series of "good schools". The letters continue throughout their lives covering the good times and the bad. This two character show is performed with the 2 actors at seperate desks while reciting their letters to the audience. Chuck PetitBon not only directs this play but also plays the role of Andy in it. A really dynamic and well done, it is too bad it didn't have a longer run.

Chuck captures the uptightness of Andrew from the younger carefree days to his marriage to Jane and his becoming a Republican senator. He handles the transitions from the varying ages with ease. Chuck also prepares the scrumptious before the show dinner which consists of all you can eat chicken vegetable soup, small loaves of bread, string beans and carrots and red bliss and sweet potatoes with Italian seasonings. I had the baked haddock stuffed with crab cake and an apple turnover for dessert. Hilary Miller plays Melissa who is a larger than life character and infuses her with the proper zest and depressive behavior, delivering a tour de force performance as this multifaceted woman. Her facial expressions and gestures are perfect whether she is reading the letters or reacting to Andy's letters or getting drunk and then drying out at a special place. Hilary first appears in pigtails as the younger girl then lets her hair down as she grows up. This wonderful two person show lets the appreciative audience enjoy their dinnertainment for "Love Letters" with the yummy dinner and the topnotch show. Bravo on a job well done.

"Love Letters" (29 January - 5 February)
MILL RIVER DINNER THEATRE
499 High Steet, CENTRAL FALLS RI
1 (401) 721-0909

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |