A thoroughly enjoyable evening, this clever little show by Melina Wightman and Lia Stark was a real conversation-starter, make no mistake. A simple premise: the two protagonists read out so-called love letters to men from their past, all the while discussed with just the right amount of wry humour as you would share over a bottle of cheap white with a girlfriend. The stories contain familiar faces and well-known archetypes we have ALL slipped into bed with. Regrets I’ve had a few, but maybe not so many as these lasses…
I really enjoyed the simplicity – the letters in large white envelopes like wedding favours, the easy scene changes. Even the understanding that each night is different, has a different pace, a different feel, depending on the order that the letters come out in. The actors are utterly, thoroughly, thrillingly, awkwardly honest. These are true stories, with no more embellishment than you would give your bff. At least it appears that way!
At it’s heart, this is a blow-blow, take-no-prisoners, tell-no-lies degustation of the contemporary female experience. The stories are not JUST for the lasses, there is plenty for the lads, both giving and taking, if you know what I mean. (This show lends itself to the poorly crafted double entendre quite like no other!) It’s a kind of poetry karaoke, we all kind of know the words, at least we recognise the tune… The Art Boy, The Jazz Bar, the Tinder blow-through, the owner of the Single Bed Mattress on the Floor…
Both actresses are dressed in wedding dresses, overdressed for the night of their lives. A sharp-suited jazz pianist plays the accompaniment perfectly, seamlessly, giving the night a fresh and intimate feel. Each scene, done with a snappy pace and with plenty of fresh banter, moves them around the room, swapping between candid and sorrowful, sarcastic and overshare.
The truly awesome part about it was the conversations sparked. I swear every person that sees this show is flushed back in time, although no one took to the mike to share with the crowd the night that I was there (in part because I think we all thought the ladies were coming back to facilitate), the conversation was rowdy and in my group of friends, continued long into the night. Who did we fuck, who fucked us, and do we regret? Of course, such a simple question is never resolved with a single answer. Sexual politics is dripping in all manner of shades of grey (#sorrynotsorry).
SPOILER ALERT. There was great debate in my friends about the sombre letters to self that ended the show. Letters that were a little like self-flagellation, the kind of self-hate that we coat ourselves with when we wake in the cold light of dawn having truly misspent our self respect. The huge all-encompassing longing ofr ‘other’ any other, that sends us wantonly into the arms of strangers, leaves us on dancefloors at 3am, and barefoot on the bus at 6am. I for one wanted their truth, their raw honesty, my friend liked it happy, humorous, FUN.
I think this ending demonstrates the youth of the performers though, as both parts of the story are true. I guess I am holding out for the next iteration of the show, twhere there is a third act, a final cherry on top, a great big adult lady-sized cherry, and this act is the one that says… regret nothing, sexual liberation is empowerment, they take nothing from me that I did not give. Life is for the living, and an empty bed is… an empty bed. Damned if you do and well I’d rather be damned. The letters about unsuitable paramours, that segway into #realtalk, but finally, when the chips are down, regrets I’ve had a few, but then again, perhaps there’s enough of these to make a whole damn show.
Love Letters to Fuckbois plays Metro Arts 9 – 18 August 2018
Co-Creator | Melina Wightman
Co-Creator | Lia Stark
Pianist | Jayce McNeill
Producer | Matt Seery
Technical Manager | Emma Healy
Images | Yasmin Jansen