Thirty years before One Day stormed the book world with its a missed-opportunities love story spanning fifty years, A R Gurney had done just that - poignancy, nostalgia, empathy and all, in a slimmer and more elegant package. Love Letters tells its tale through the correspondence of an American couple at college in 1937 who continue to chart their dreams and disappointments until the late 1980s. New Yorker Albert Ramsdell G was born in 1930 himself so ideally placed for the dry social observation which is the strength of this simple concept, ensuring characters engage and the ending is moving without being sentimental. Admirably uncluttered direction by Derek Fowlds and excellent performances – especially Alison Farina’s luminous Melissa - in a Butterfly Psyche production of great charm, sadly only on for two nights at the Rondo or I'd urge you all to go.
(Derek btw was one of the mainstays of Yes Minister in his role as private secretary Bernard and hosted the best New Year party I ever went to...)
Back in Frome, urging is appropriate: the new exhibition at Rook Lane Chapel Blue II has a fascinating collection of multi-media art until the end of the month. Coordinator Carolyn Griffiths was inspired by an 18th Century 'dye recipe' book from old Wallbridge Mill (also on display): 'it's the trade secrets of these craftsmen' she says, 'part of the cultural and creative heritage of Frome.'
My favourite pieces are the porcelain poetry books by Pauline Watson, some even with pages you can turn.