reviewed at the Frinton Summer Theatre on 7 August
How do you carry on a 21st century love affair? Romantic entanglements used to be fuelled by the exchange of letters. Nowadays it seems all to be an electronic business.
That’s the theme of Daniel Glattauer’s two e-epistolary novels Love Virtually and The Seventh Wave.They have been translated by Katherina Bielenberg and Jamie Bulloch and become an international hit.
Eileen Horne’s stage adaptation for two live actors, a variety of projections, many costume changes Neil Gordon) and the ubiquitous smartphones and laptops keeps the “will she? won’t he?” keeps the tension taut. This is the UK première.
Emma/Emmi has a devoted older husband Bernard and two stepchildren. Leo has one of those digital jobs which seem to have proliferated at the same time as technological wizardry. He as a sister and an on-off girlfriend.
It all begins when Emma (Annabel Wright) grows increasingly frustrated with her attempts to cancel a magazine subscription. Leo (Oliver Le Sueur) is the recipient of her mounting anger. Somehow this then becomes a more friendly exchange.
If you think you can see where all this is heading – think again. It’s a very European take on a story, for all the transposed London setting. Beth Colley’s designs work splendidly; there is a proper sense of distance even though the McGrigor Hall stage is a narrow one.
Wright is very good as Emma/Emmi, with her life unravelling online as well as on the ground. Le Sueur is a trifle too subdued, not to say inaudible, as Leo. Director Clive Brill has a Skype-style cameo as Bernard which emphasises that reality hurts.
Four and a half-star rating.
Love Virtually runs at the Frinton Summer Theatre until 11 August with a matinée on 11 August.