Didn’t get tickets to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s Barbican ‘Hamlet’? You’re not the only one, alas. But the ‘Sherlock’ star has just been announced for a stage project that’s happening at the end of this month – one in which you’ll finally get to see him hook up with Molly, aka Louise Brealey.
‘Letters Live’ is a sort of stage equivalent to the ‘Letters of Note’ anthology, and each night of its stint at the beautiful art deco Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden will feature a mix of celebrity performers reading out interesting letters from history, from Gandhi’s missive to Hitler to Virginia Woolf’s suicide note.
Dropping in and out of the five-night run will be the likes of Sally Hawkins and the musician Tom Odell. But guaranteed every night is Cumberbatch himself, and Louise Brearly: in addition to letters they’ll be reading individually – including those written by a certain famous mathematician – the pair will be reading from ‘My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letter’. It’s an anthology of letters from the Second World War, a correspondence between North Africa-posted RAF man Chris Barker and Bessie Moore, a former colleague of his who he began writing to in order to pass the time, and ended up falling for via the medium of letter. As you’d expect, the ‘Batch will read a selection of Barker’s letters, while Brearly will read Moore’s.
The two-hour-long show will feature eight or nine performers each night, and will raise money for the literacy charities The Reading Agency, First Story and Ministry of Stories.