King’s Head Theatre, London, then Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh from 1-24 August 2019
Yours Sincerely is a coming of age story from Will Jackson (also performing) and Lucy Bird, founders of Quick Duck Theatre, directed by Anna Himali Howard.
Will accidentally steals 300 second class stamps from the post office and uses them to send letters to people, some obvious, some not so obvious: his best friend in London, his grandmother, his niece, the John Lewis marketing department, and Cadbury’s.
For a coming of age story there is remarkably little sex or dating involved. There is one – which is the catalyst for Will making a worrying discovery on his genitals.
The play, and the act it centres on, of communication and reaching out to people, feels like a millennial battle against loneliness and social media dominance. But nothing is mentioned about either of these topics. Will clearly misses his best friend who has moved to London, and has little job satisfaction.
The most interesting relationship and story arc takes place between Will and his new flatmate Jacob. The development of this relationship leads to some genuinely sweet and tender moments.
I think the play would make a fantastic book, as is hinted at during the show. But as a theatre piece, where all the action is taking place inside letters (via writing or reading them), it doesn’t entirely work. There is a particular section where four letters are read back to back, and it feels ultimately like the story is being told in the wrong medium.
It is a one-man show with Jackson playing all the characters. Some, such as Jacob are fully realised, and some are not as clearly defined. Some of the jokes feel a bit laboured and fall slightly short.
However, Jackson is a great lipsyncer and makes good use of music throughout the show. He is also a good physical performer, darting about the stage making use of his gargantuan set of props. And for his sheer exuberance and joy of being on stage, as well as a particularly great pitch for this years John Lewis Christmas advert, I have given this show ☆☆☆
Yours Sincerely is on 1-24 August 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe https://www.assemblyfestival.com/whats-on/yours-sincerely