Yesterday saw my third time watching Letters Live at Freemasons' Hall, near Covent Garden; I'm beginning to feel like an old hand at it.
It's such a great concept for an event that's amusing, heartrending, yet always entertaining, serving to reiterate the emotive power of the letter as a form of correspondence. They can act as a shortcut into another time; well, the ones they read at Letters Live are; anything I'd write wouldn't ever be.
The show was topped and tailed by Jamie Cullum, who kicked things off with a spot of Fats Waller - 'I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter', obviously - and closed proceedings with a rhythmically outstanding rendition of Ray Charles' 'I Got a Woman', segueing unexpectedly into The Beatles' 'Blackbird'; hearing the latter arranged for piano somehow underlined how beautiful it is.
Referencing recent political developments gave the show an unsettling undercurrent, taking in Brexit, the Calais Jungle and the rise of Donald Trump along the way. Colin Salmon read a terrifying open letter from fifty former US national security officials (both Republican and Democrat) stating their fear Trump would be the the "most reckless president in US history"; it's a scary time we live in. I only hope that when I next attend the show, the threat will have long since passed. In the meantime, as a little light relief, here's Strictly's Bruno Tonioli channelling Trump's trademark hand gesture.