The central couple are excellently portrayed by John Warnaby and Sue Casson: they bring a warmth to the stage. This is particularly strong in their letters – full of genuine emotion and closeness. When they move away from the correspondence, some of that warmth disappears – but the performances are always convincing and frequently moving.
The rest of the characters (ranging from Goering to various newspaper reporters) are shared by Andrew Wincott and Chris Brannick (who also provides piano accompaniment throughout). Between them they encompass the necessary range of accents and personality without resorting to stereotype.
Music is clearly central to the concept of the production – with a mixture of new and period tunes throughout. To my mind, it worked best when the text and music were intertwined – particularly towards the end of the first act when Sylvia is narrating aspects of her life interspersed with songs of the time.
The stage is sensitively designed with plenty of period detailing and ephemera. The use of projection, though occasionally overly literal, served to provide clarity and help the audience identify the various characters. There were occasionally slips in the lighting – understandable given the circumstances of a preview performance.
Overall, I was left feeling that the writing was perhaps better suited to radio presentation. The subject matter and style necessitated by the reliance on letters means that it is hard to inject huge amounts of theatricality. This is not to say that the work was not without great merit. It is given a committed and sensitive production. It certainly deserves an audience.