A delicately poised mixture of unrealism, pathos, and humour on show in Some Company Productions‘ postal service extravaganza, proving that keeping ashes in an urn isn’t the only place you can store the dead.
When adopted James – ostensibly searching for a letter written more than two decades ago – finds the door of the tiny, rural Dead Letter Office uncharacteristically ajar, he should have taken the warning that most things in this particular vicinity are usually kept closed, and for very good reason. Unravelling the past never has the desired effect, and when the seal is broken, it’s not just words that come flooding out…
The piece is well-written and taut, with five refined and noteworthy characters, and the strong cast meant the poignancy was successfully maintained throughout, with some very touching moments – most notably the dénouement. The comedy timing was exemplary, and the play seemed well-rehearsed and polished. However, there was a slight over-emphasis on exposition, and although the directing of these slightly incongruous scenes was very tight, the continuous juxtaposition had a slightly negative effect on the overall flow of the piece. Sometimes when you know too much about a person, it leaves little to the imagination.
Although the initial revealing of what happens when you open one of the letters really adds to the intensity of the production, unfortunately, it also meant that the second and third occasions were a bit predictable, slightly drowning out the significance of the revelation of the mother. Having said that, because of the diverse idiosyncrasies of each individual character, and the way they were presented to the audience, this was still a very enjoyable hour of theatre.