Posting Letters To The Moon

Wartime letters between the actress Celia Johnson and her husband Peter Fleming read by their daughter, Lucy Fleming, with Simon Williams. #CeliasLetters


These touching and amusing letters from Celia to her husband tell of her experiences during the war – from coping with a large isolated house full of evacuated children, learning to drive a tractor, dealing with rationing, occasional holidays in Cornwall where she took to surfing, and all the while accepting offers, when she could get away, to act – for David Lean, Noel Coward, wartime propaganda films, broadcasts, all sorts, and ultimately in

1945 starring in the classic film Brief Encounter.

Peter Fleming was away for most of the war - he writes about his adventures and trials working on deception in India and the Far East.

Not only are the letters highly engaging, but they also provide a fascinating historical insight into that time of true austerity and fearfulness. 


Reviews

“...a lovely, love filled, heart-warming evening....as welcoming and nourishing as you could possibly want...don't miss this, it's a genuine treasure.” Bristol247.com

British Theatre Guide:  "Theatrical Gem"

 

“I’m going to stop for a moment,” said Lucy Fleming, two minutes into Posting Letters to the Moon........ “You haven’t got your little lights turned on,” she said. And indeed the swan-neck lectern lights were not illuminating Simon’s script and she could see that he might struggle to read it easily. “Darling, I love you more and more” he replied, and lights adjusted, we continued with the show. It was a suitably touching moment for this most personal of stories.


Lucy’s parents were Peter Fleming (brother of Ian), who was engaged on military intelligence during the war, and the actress Celia Johnson, whose most famous role was as the married woman who falls in love with Trevor Howard in the film Brief Encounter. The Fleming/Johnson letters conjure very poignantly the austerity of the war years, the indomitable British spirit, and the carefully vague reports of military life in India and the Far East. What comes through most strongly is how the intricacy of family life, whether it be learning to drive a tractor, or visits to the doctor over problems with a young son’s ‘twig and berries’, sustain a marriage where the location of one spouse is largely unknown (“I might as well be posting letters to the moon”) and the location of the other is given in perfect detail.


This was a delightful evening, performed with great delicacy and humour by two seasoned professionals perched on matching stools either side of a screen, like guardians of the family images of two generations ago.   


Giles Cole  Garrick Club June 2018

 

The exchanges reminded us of the hardships of war and the enduring strength of the human spirit to get though such adversity, which they did fortified by mutual encouragement, deep love and respect for each other. We must thank Lucy, whose looks and voice strongly resemble her mother, and her family for sharing these treasured writings with us.
 
Wiltshire Gazette and Herald June 19th 2018.

 

In Media

Saturday Live, BBC Radio 4


October 2nd 1944

I had lunch with Mr Coward who read me his new film that he wants me to be in.  There is no getting away from the fact that it is a very good part and one I should like to play.  In spite of the appalling-ness of Denham, the getting up at crack of dawn, the not knowing where to stay, the struggle with trains and buses I have found myself already planning how I should play bits and how I should say lines that I can remember from Noel having read it to me, in fact it has been whizzing round in my mind ever since last Friday.  It’s about a woman, married and with two children who meets by chance a man in a railway waiting room and they fall in love.  And It’s All No Good. 


Audience Feedback to the March 2017 tour

Dukes Playhouse Lancaster 1st March

 “a theatrical gem” David Upton

“a poignant encounter with intimacy…simply spellbinding”

David Upton, Lancashire Evening Post

“very engaging, .humorous and moving…pitched just right”

“what a delightful evening listening to these wonderfully touching letters being read”

“I could watch this all again starting now”

Carnforth Station 2nd March

“excellent evening”

“absolutely wonderful”

Glenridding Public Hall 4th March

“I could have listened to her voice all day”

Keswick Alhambra 5th March

“charming and a real insight into that era, and how people seemed to cope admirably when apart, particularly during war times. I had not seen the film before and it was excellent. I was quite spellbound and the diction, well quite wonderful. Current productions could learn a lot.”

‘Absolutely loved Posting Letters to the Moon”

“my favourite film.fantastic to see it on the big screen”

“amazing show”

The Gather , Ennerdale Centre 7th March

“wonderful, moving and a great example of how two people should communicate - the words and  the honesty which helped them through their long distance relationship..”

Nettlebed 21st April

"You made me laugh - and cry tonight- in a good way!" 

"Such an amazing story to tell"

"A memorable evening. So well put together, and read, very heart-warming, romantic, touching, and above all interesting."

"What a marvellous collection of letters to have survived."

"An enthralling performance."

"It should certainly be brought to a wider audience."

"The show created an amazing atmosphere as it gradually unfolded a really touching, amusing and informative story of life in England during the war. It is extraordinary to think that what was our everyday is now history and unimaginable to the subsequent generations."