City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Dead Letters Review, C Cubed, Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 01 August 2014

Dead Letters (Photo - Millie Logan)
Show details
PropUp Theatre
Running time: 
Jack Sterne (director), Clemency-Tate Thorburn and Daniel Sellick (writers)
Dan Sellick (George), Min Moultrie (Alison), Clemency-Tate Thorburn (Margery), Brandon French (Dougie), Katie Cummings (Trickster).

“The post office has a great charm at one point of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for.”~ Jane Austen

This is a love letter to the power of letters and the tale of George, a postman who believes in order, not just postal order but that of life shaped by the written word.

The comfortable badinage of the sorting office, where his colleagues joke and laugh over the content of postcards, is disturbed when he learns of a place where letters go to die. The wrongly addressed, the unpaid for, those deemed undeliverable are doomed to the Dead Letter Office.

What if amongst the slowly yellowing paper there are love letters, pay cheques, loose ends and invitations to paths untaken? What if there are not enough postmen in the world to rescue them?

Recognising one addressee, George delivers a letter to Margery. This late letter from her late husband rights a minor wrong and George is inspired to deliver all the mislaid mail.

His quixotic mission sees him travel far and wide, meeting a cast of characters and getting into scrapes and a confrontation that will shake his romantic notions. Perhaps some things are meant to be, maybe he is just a postman and not a miracle worker.

There will always be lost letters and George will need to sort between dead ends and new beginnings.

This is an peppy, playful, prop filled production. Highly visual in style the cast use simple items to create scenery and transform into sorting machines and trains, often beneath a rain of paper confetti. PropUp Theatre are into props, people and mess.

The visual style and focus on people inevitability courts comparison with Idle Motion theatre company, which is in some ways unfortunate as it sets the bar high.

The performances are generally good (Dan Sellick pulls off bumbling romantic with the aplomb of Hugh Grant), but could be turned down a tad in places. The wide eyed smiles at the beginning have the feel of a children’s show rather than just playfulness.

The use of props could be honed to be more inventive and the stark lighting is at odds with any attempt to imbue the piece with magic. The use of projections or tablets would move it to the next level.

It’s charming, feelgood fun that with a bit more detail could be first class.

Show times: 31 July to 25 August 2014 (not 12) at 4.15pm.

Ticket Prices: £7.50 (£5.50) to £9.50 (£7.50).