Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Love Letters and Other Pointless Scribbles @ 3MT, 21.11.13

What are we left with when a relationship is over? Memories of both good times and bad, feelings of fondness and regret...and then there’s the physical things, like love letters. But whereas letters can be put in a box and forgotten about, feelings and memories are not so easily expunged; sooner or later we have to face them. And, in a new one person show Love Letters and Other Pointless Scribbles, that’s just what writer and performer Stephanie Claire does, taking us on a journey from love found to love lost, getting off at every stop along the way, leaving no box unopened.

Having seen her previous show ‘Confessions of a Waitress’ it is apparent that Claire has a certain stylistic approach. Her work is immersive, engaging each audience member in conversation as they enter the theatre and then subsequently throughout the performance. Props, particularly handmade ones, are used as marker points in her stories and also as an opportunity for further audience interaction. The stories themselves are a mix of conversation, confession and recollection, with the shifts between the two coming quite suddenly – one minute she might be remembering how her grandmother used to sing, the next she herself is inhabiting that role.

The best moments brought laughs of recognition , with the re-enactment of a drunken late night text sent from a club toilet a particular highlight. However, not every moment was quite as sharply realised, and it felt as though the input of another person – perhaps a director or writer – could have helped hone parts of the performance.

As a performer Claire is sincere and generous - not for one moment do you question her belief in what she is saying, and although dealing with the subject of heartbreak she is never vindictive in her assessment of the past. This approach is rather refreshing, especially in the world of artistic expression where a need to be impressive can put the squeeze on being nuanced and nice. Love Letters is definitely an enjoyable hour, with some interesting and humorous takes on what love is and how we cope with its departure.

Words: Andrew Anderson

Photo: Stephanie Claire

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