Wednesday, 20 September 2017

“Hannah and Hanna/The Jewish Wife”
Lace Market Theatre
“The Jewish Wife”, written by Bertolt Brecht, which is the first part of this double bill and is a one-act play focusing on the issue of a Jewish woman having to tell her German husband that she is planning to leave him to save his career as a first class physician at the clinic he works at.
You can see the hurt in her eyes as she is still so in love with her husband but she is willing to make the sacrifice for his career
Mandy Hodgson (The Wife) tells the story as she slowly packs her case and makes calls to friends to ensure that her husband is cossetted in her absence. The emotion shows in Mandy's eyes and her voice at times cracks. Even though you know the inevitable is drawing near, you still want her to change her mind.
Daniel Bryant (The Husband) comes in near the end and you really want to shout out that his wife isn't just going for a few weeks. You can imagine Daniel as a doctor as he has that air about him.
Lorna McCullough has directed this play and one of the few directors who can make a minute of silence say more than words can say.
The second half of the double bill is "Hannah and Hanna".
It is 1999. Hannah is sixteen. She loves karaoke and her bloke Bullfrog; she hates her home town of Margate and the Kosovan asylum-seekers who have come to live there. Hanna is also sixteen. She loves karaoke and loves Margate and hates her home town of Kosovo..
What soon becomes apparent is that there are real similarities between Hannah's green and pleasant land and Hanna's bombed-out hell of Kosovo. In both, hatred is always bubbling just below the surface. The outlets for the hatred are very different though.
The two girls are eventually brought together through their love of singing and pop music. Kylie Minogue, Steps and Britney Spears have travelled to Kosovo and present a common language. Soon, English Hannah has to make the decision to become an adult and befriend the stateless Hanna or slavishly follow Bullfrog.
Their lives criss cross and one explosive incident one evening changes their opinions of the other forever.
Both plays are very moving and are willing to address serious political and racial issues. The language is, at times, shocking, and it's supposed to be to get the point of this play driven home.
The second play also provides a showcase for two excellent young actresses who give robust but sensitive performances.
Rhiannon Jones (Hannah) is the aggressive one with fire in her eyes. The gradual softening of her character is a delight to watch.
Ellie Searston (Hanna) is the one with fire in her belly. I had to ask Director Wayne Parkin about Ellie as I was so impressed with her Kosovian accent which never faltered once throughout. Only when she changed character and changed voice did I even think that she wasn't South Eastern European.
Both of these young actors really got under the skin of their characters and produced an emotion packed, gritty performance which will get the fire in you ignited, for several reasons.
Directed by Wayne Parkin, this debut is, I imagine, what every first time director could wish for, A whopping success. The direction and the actors made me feel anger at the way that Hanna was treated by Hannah, and then empathy for how Hannah was treated by Bull and his gang. The ending, which I won't reveal is a bit of a shock!
Both performed in the studio upstairs which gives both of these emotive plays that extra something because of the close proximity, you get 100% sight of the emotion given by all four actors.
Both sets are minimal but with the wonderful scripts, who needs sets, but Keith Parkinson has provided just enough in both.
I've said in the past that if you don't notice the soundscape, then that is also a job well done. There's the Simon Carter. Hand in hand with the lighting design by Rose Dudley they created a perfect atmosphere for both plays.
subtle background sounds and then there's the upfront karaoke scenes in the second play all done with spot on timing by
Why the upstairs space was not full to see these two plays, which are linked by their subject matter, I don't know because all involved in these presentations deserve to have their talents seen by more than the two thirds full audience. It was good to learn though that Tuesday night was full.
This double bill is on at The Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 23 September 2017 and I can guarantee that you'll be in the pub (or the upstairs bar) by 9.30 to have a chat about these plays.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

“Pride & Prejudice”
Nottingham Playhouse
Adapted from the Jane Austen novel by comedian Sara Pascoe with music by Emmy the Great, at first sight, a musical of “Pride & Prejudice” sounds outrageous.
How dare Sara Pascoe mess around with such a classic piece of literature? That's what some people may say, but being under no preconceptions in what I was going to see, I sat back to see what would unfold.
Austen’s lines can be amusing, which lends itself to being adapted in such a way by Sara to bring out the comedy and push it to the forefront. The lyrics of the songs in this production also have a lovely comic touch as well, almost parodying Austen’s work. It was almost like a dissection of the play which was then reassembled but maybe with not all the pieces in the right places.
That said I felt that the music didn't really add anything to the play. As a separate entity, the music was comical and clever but in the context of then play, it didn't do it for me, I'm afraid.
Maybe if Jane Austen were alive today she would be making a living out of musical theatre, who knows?
The story flip flopped from what "school kids" thought of the play from a modern view, and then from a director's point of view, remaking a film of the book going through, what i imagine could be the rushes (film folk will know what they are), and then to the actors within the play, playing the characters in the play that they were performing within this particular production.
At times the acting was deliberately hammy, which also added that comic, almost panto feel. Other times it was like watching "Horrible Histories", the TV show for kids.
Look, it's different but lovingly produced to be different and modern theatre needs to do this sort of thing to keep live theatre fresh. And it's going to get people talking which is never a bad thing. It was always going to be an exciting risk, which I think just paid off for Sara and the team.
A clever cast who took on several roles each but I'll mention a few of my standout characters.
Rachel Partington (Mary/Modern Mary / Miss de Bourgh / Mrs Hurst) was wonderfully "sandwich short of a picnic" who had a thing about envelopes for some reason. A wonderfully scatty role which added some lovely comic moments to the play. A nice professional debut for Rachel.

Kerry Peers (Mrs Bennet/Modern Mrs Bennet/Lady Catherine de Bourgh/Housekeeper) was the highlight for me, From the over excitable Mrs Bennet to the modern day director ( I think that was the role that she was going for) to the marvellous Lady Catherine (possibly based on Maggie Smith in Downton with the
cutting remarks). Loved them all.
Matt Whitchurch (Mr Darcy) was cool calm, collected and quite rude about the women. A fore runner to the modern sexist pig, but a brilliant character role.
Matthew Romain (Mr Bingley/Mr Collins). Another marvellous character driven fun role with a touch of hyper going off there with Mr Collins. great fun.
Alex Sawyer (Mr Wickham/Modern Wickham/Mr Gardiner). Wickham was a real slime ball but the ladies of the era seemed to love him. Another fun role to watch.
Adrian Irvine (Mr Bennet/Graham). It's amazing how donning a pair of glasses and waistcoat can age a character so much from Graham, the film director to Mr Bennet, the father of the family. Shows how clever props and costume can change an actor's performance to portray a role.
Directed by Susannah Tresilian and you can feel the love that she has for this story, and the fun that she obviously had with this pacy rom-com romp..
There's some lovely comic dance sections in the play which show the serenity in some of the characters and also the awkwardness in Mr Collins character. Thanks to the cleverness of Adele Parry's Movement Direction (is that a new name for the choreographer?)
I loved the set which was simple but clever, and incredibly effective, also showing a lot of class in the era of Austen's novel. Designed by Carla Goodman.
Go and see this production with an open mind. Don't expect a faithful interpretation of Jane Austen's novel of love and romance, expect something that maybe you didn't expect!
”Pride & Prejudice – the Musical” is at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 30 September 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

“Reasons To Be Cheerful” by Graeae Theatre Company
Derby Theatre
For anyone who likes the music of Ian Dury and The Blockheads, this is a real treat. I love the music of Ian Dury and The Blockheads.
The show is a celebration of Dury’s music. A play within a play as explained by Vinnie at the start. It's wrapped around a coming of age story and includes classics like “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “What A Waste”, “Sweet Gene Vincent”, “Reasons To Be Cheerful pt 3” and the disability rights anthem “Spasticus Autisticus”.
The musical also features a new song by Blockhead Chaz Jankel called “If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong”.
37 years after Dury and Jankel wrote the song “Reasons To Be Cheerful”, it’s still causing a storm on stage and being introduced to a younger audience so that they can discover what a great British songwriter and performer Dury was. I’m sure that if Dury was alive today he would be a major force to be reckoned with and that he would give this show his special seal of approval. Clever and witty lyrics never go out of date.
The timeline is 1979 and the Labour Government have lost the election to the Tories. Vinnie and Colin are massive Dury fans and they are on a mission to see the man in concert at the Hammersmith Odeon; the only problem is, they don’t have a ticket and it’s sold out. When they get their hands on tickets, things don't quite go tom plan as life gets in the way.....
Performed by Graeae, who are a disabled-led theatre group. All performances include captioned dialogue, British Sign Language interpreted songs and audio description, so there’s no reason for anyone to miss out on this show.
Vinnie is played by Stephen Lloyd, What an energy Stephen brings to this show as he leaps all over the stage. In contrast the scenes where he is involved with his father, Bobby, have an emotional and sincere edge.
Colin is played by Stephen Collins. It's great fun watching Stephen perform. His character is like a naughty little boy who has grown up to be a naughty big boy. Again, a great energy brought to this play by Stephen.
Janine is played by Beth Hinton-Lever. Janine is the turning point in the play, and it's lovely to see her get the conclusion she gets. I'm saying no more!
Pat is played by Karen Spicer. The Mum in the play. This character is the Mum we'd all love to have, if we're really being honest. She is fun to watch and looks like she is having fun in this role. You feel for Pat as she is at her wits end with the man she loves but can't cope with the situation she is in.
Bill/Bobby is played by Gerard McDermott. Bobby is the father in the play within the play. Bill is the alternative role as Pat's new partner.
Nick/Dave is played by Max Runham. Another dual role, mainly as Vinnie's and Colin's supermarket boss and Janine's boyfriend. With an eye for the ladies, sometimes quite literally, under him, he is a jack the lad in many ways who loves to wind up our two heroes.
The main vocalist for Dury's songs is John Kelly. I've seen John, as well as some of this wonderfully talented cast, before. With Dury's songs his vocals are well matched and especially with the contrasting style of the country tinged "Crippled With Nerves" to the other punky/disco/rock songs.
This is one of those plays where the actors are also required to be fully fledged musicians as well as performing their roles in the play.Joey Hickman,
Nixon Rosembert, Paul Sirett (who also wrote this brilliant musical), Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth, Louis Schultz-Wiremu, Jude Mahon and Wayne "Pickles" Norman provide the music live.
Directed by Jenny Sealey, she has given us a lively, exciting, emotive and thoroughly entertaining piece of modern musical theatre.
Choreographer is Mark Smith, and while in parts it looks like it's a free for all pogo fest, the choreography is spot on for the era. With the "ensemble" choreography it's as good as anything form the West End.
Sound designer is by Lewis Gibbon and Lighting Designer is by Ian Scott. Both creating an exciting stage atmosphere.
The projection design (Duncan McLean) and Video Design (Mark Haig) add to that visual excitement.
Graeae Theatre Company is a blend of disabled and non-disabled actors. They're proud to show this and often use the disability they have humorously, and why not? They're all talented actors and after the first five or ten minutes you see past their disability and you see an actor, not an actor who has a disability.
Part concert, part theatre. "Reasons To Be Cheerful" will have you on your feet by the end as you're drawn into the party. I defy you to stay in your seat for the ending. Yes even I was up on my feet shaking my booty and making my hands red by clapping to Ian Dury's infectious anthems.
“Reasons To Be Cheerful ” gives you more than three reasons to see this wonderful show, which is at Derby Theatre until Saturday 16 September 2017.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

“South Pacific” by LAOS
Loughborough Town Hall
The musical focuses on Nellie, an American nurse, Nellie Forbush, stationed on an island in the South Pacific during World War 2, who falls in love with a French plantation owner, Emile De Becque, but struggles with the fact that he has two mixed-race children by his late Polynesian wife.
There’s a secondary romance involving young U.S. lieutenant, Joe Cable, and a young Tonkinese woman, Liat, daughter pf Bloody Mary. Both situations highlight the racial prejudices of the period.
The plot and musical is based on a 1947 novel by James A. Michener called “Tales of the South Pacific” and Rodgers and Hammerstein believed they could write a musical based on Michener's work that would be financially successful and, at the same time, would send a strong progressive message on racism. On both accounts, they succeeded.
This is one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best and most loved musicals with many of the songs being so well known that they have graced the music charts over the years in various guises. “Some Enchanted Evening”, “Happy Talk”, “A Cock Eyed Optimist”, “Bali Hai”, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair”, “Younger Than Springtime”, "I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy" to name just a few.
Loughborough Amateur Operatic Society have a long history of presenting classic musicals like this and this is just another whopping success to add to their extensive CV.
Directed by James Nelson, it's pacy with some smooth and well executed scene changes. Bearing in mind that this is a lengthy musical, coming in at just under three hours with an interval, it's not an easy directorial piece.
The cast were, as usual, excellent with some very strong voices.
Jonathan Penton (Emile De Becque ) was wonderful with a French accent that didn't sound over pronounced, it sounded very natural. He also has a gorgeously rich singing voice which I could listen to for ages.
Gemma Landers (Ensign Nellie Forbush) captured the very essence of a woman torn by love and what other people may think of her being involved in a family with mixed race kids. We all knew that love would win the day!
Ollie Lewin (Lt. Joseph Cable) looked the classic U.S. young army person, like a blond Tom Cruise in "Top Gun"
Chris Wilson (Luther Billis) is an actor that I have a lot of time for. He plays to his strengths with comedy and this is the perfect role for him as the wise cracking Billis. His "Honey Bun" immediately raised smiles and his interpretation of "Bali Hai" is what I can imagine rock singers Dave Grohl or Chad Kroeger would sound like doing musical theatre.
Gemma Baxter (Bloody Mary) was another absolute joy and where as Jonathan Penton reigned in the
French twang, Gemma went the other way and produced a wonderfully funny character piece, exactly how the character of Bloody Mary should be played.
Effie Langley-Evans (Liat) again played the part just right, never over stating the role as the girl who fell in love with Cable. A lovely gentle performance which gave you the "aahh" factor.
Richard York (Capt. George Brackett) and Kevin Clarke (Cmdr. William Harbison) were solid throughout with that needed air of authority.
Ayeka Edirisinghe and Inodh Jayawardhena played the two young children, Ngana and Jerome with great confidence.
A large ensemble who were just brilliant fun to watch. The choreography executed by the dancers was spot on and shows the hard work put in by choreographer Hannah Osgood and the cast.
I must pick out one member of the ensemble who I kept coming back to for his dancing as well as his vocals in "There is Nothing Like A Dame" and that's Joe Harrison. Every piece of choreography, and there are various styles in this musical, looked very natural to Joe. His vocals actually surprised me as I was not expecting that deep voice to come from Joe.
The orchestra sounded amazing under Hazel Needham's Musical Direction.
There were a couple of first night wobbles that would have gone un-noticed by most audience members but these were minor things that in no way detracted from the sheer joy of this production.
A tip here for you. Get to your seats for 7,20pm so that you can see the added dance section to some great 1940's Big Band songs. An additional treat and look out for the nod to LAOS' next production in March 2018 in this show!
“South Pacific” is at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 16 September 2017.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

“West Side Story”
Derby Theatre
The classic Stephen Sondheim/Leonard Bernstein musical is performed this time around by Derby Youth Musical Theatre. This ,as far as I can remember, is the first time that I have seen this group, but many of the faces are well known on the local Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire local theatre scene.
The story is inspired by Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and it’s the story of the relationships between two opposing street gangs, The Jets and The Sharks, with the two main characters, Tony and Maria being on opposite sides of the fence. This doesn’t stop the course of true love though but exacerbates the feelings between the two gang members with fatal consequences.
This is also a good musical to counter many of the classic musicals which end on a high and happy vibe.
“West Side Story” includes so many classic musical pieces, many have become chart and popular hits, covered by some of the cream of the recording industry. “Something’s Coming”, “Maria”, “I Feel Pretty”, “America”, “Somewhere”, “One Hand One Heart” and “Tonight” being among them as well as the lyrically comic “Gee Officer Krupke”.As I was leaving, I heard a couple of women state that they didn't realise how many of the songs in the musical they actually knew.
This is the first full theatre production that I've seen for well over a month, due to the theatre season pause, and this company re awakened my love for this wonderful, and very energetic musical. It actually left me quite drained of emotion because of the emotion these actors put into their performances.
Tony is played by Ryan Wiggins, a young actor I’ve seen on several occasions. He fits this role so well; he’s good looking and has that “boy next door” attitude which is just what Tony should be. He also has the most wonderful voice with such range. I've seen Ryan's Raoul, and that that was good; this performance bettered that. His control, especially in his falsetto, was spine tinglingly magical.
Tony’s “Juliet” is Maria, sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks, and played by the lovely Mia Mitchell. Having met Mia a few weeks ago, I knew what a gorgeously talented teenager she is. What I hadn't been aware of was what a beautiful voice she owns. Crystal clear and those notes just flow effortlessly from her mouth. These two, Ryan and Mia, are a theatrical match made in heaven.
Bernardo is played by Sam Fretwell. Another handsome young actor who, at 18 years old, delivers a very mature performance and has an ear for accents, as do most of this talented cast.
The feisty Anita, played by Holly Ann Twells. Loved her accent and the fire she has for this character. great voice and what a dancer. Enormously energetic, and so pleased that she came from back stage to show off her wonderful talents onstage.
The leader of The Jets is the incredibly talented Lucas Young. By his own admission this is one part that is unlike other roles that he has performed in the past, but boy does he pull this one out of the bag. He shows what a diverse character player he is. One of the strongest and flexible dancers he showed that he can adapt to any dance form.
Curtis Taylor-Tipton plays Action. As this character he gets to show a more comic side of his acting as he takes the vocals on "Gee Officer Krupke". I've seen Curtis in several roles over the years, and it's great to see him play a role just a little less serious.
It’s a large cast (37) who interact well and the relationships between everyone offstage help to make the relationships with the characters onstage realistic. They all work like a well oiled theatre machine.For a cast of such young actors, they put some professional shows to shame with the energy and stage craft.
The mix of first timers with Derby Youth Musical Theatre and others that have long theatrical CVs blend well, and without reading the very informative programme, you would not be able to guess the experience levels of these actors.
It's also a testament to the actors and technical crew that they made this far from simple musical look so smooth.
The relationship between Tony and Maria is passionate and you can feel this passion, which makes the ending such an emotional scene.
Likewise the relationship between Tony and Riff as long time "bros from the hood" makes you feel that emotion that raged in Tony during the fateful rumble.
Directed by Peter Waters, who must be a very happy director with results like this. It's tight and pacy and he has the perfect cast.
Great musicals need great songs, which this show has in abundance, a great story, which it also has, and great dance routines, and that is the third box well and truly ticked.
Choreographer Caroline Green, assisted by Leanne Warren, has recreated some classic routines for this show. There are many different dance styles in West Side Story and it's rather wonderful to see ballet, jazz, contemporary, salsa and more all performed so well. You can see the time and notice taken just by looking at the hand and foot extensions by both male and female dancers. The hip action with the Latin sections may not be as loose as it could be but I am being very petty here because i have to keep reminding myself how young these actors are, and that sort of flexibility and technique is very hard to develop naturally. Just watch "Strictly" and the rehearsal time they have and compare that to these kids, and you'll see what an amazing job Caroline and the cast have produced.
If i had to choose my choreographic highlight, it would have to be "America". WOW! Amazing!!
Musical Director for this wonderfully emotive and evocative score is Charlotte Daniel. The music creates the perfect atmosphere for the period and the Latin area. That totally lush feel of "Maria", "One Hand One Heart" and the amazing arrangement of the final "Somewhere" is just breath taking and emotional. The 12 piece orchestra contains some of the best musicians in local theatre.
"West Side Story" has always been one of my favourite musicals. Derby Youth Musical Theatre have made sure that my love for this musical remains.
“West Side Story” is at Derby Theatre until Saturday 9 September 2017. Do not miss your chance to see this production.

Friday, 18 August 2017

“Hairspray Jnr”
Nottingham Arts Theatre
It’s 1962 in Baltimore, and the lovable teenager, Tracy Turnblad, has only one desire – to dance on the popular “Corny Collins Show.” When her dream comes true, Tracy is transformed from social outcast to sudden star. She must use her newfound power to dethrone the reigning Teen Queen, win the affections of heartthrob, Link Larkin, and integrate a TV network… all without denting her ‘do!
This is part of the Summer School 2017 scheme that is run at the Nottingham Arts Theatre, giving aspiring actors, or just kids who fancy having a go a chance to perform in front of friends and family but with professional tuition in theatre craft. The children in the Summer Scheme, aged 7 to 16 year old, learn the musical, the script, the songs, the choreography and stage craft all under the expert eye of producers, directors, musical directors etc . Tonight is the chance these kids get to show what they’ve been learning over the last two weeks.
I’ve been lucky enough over the last few years to have been invited down to see the end results of these Summer Schools and witness the absolute joy, and the occasional tear.
It takes a lot to put on a production of this standard and Director and choreographer Amy Rogers-Gee, Musical Director and set designer Laura Ellis and co set designer Joseph Smith who also stage managed the musical.
Emily Wilkins played Tracy. Not only did she sound and looked good but she had to endure being in a fat suit, which made me think that she must have been very slender under that costume.
Manny Moore was a very confident Corny Collins and playing Edna, and in the true tradition of the film of being male playing a female was Billy Kiety, who looked to be having as much fun playing Edna as we had watching him play Edna.
Wilbur, father to Tracy and husband to Edna was portrayed by an very confident Se Phelan.
Penny, Tracy's best friend, was played by Lacey Dykes and the pairing of Velma and Amber, the mother and daughter bigots were played with great attitude by Nia Phelan and Molly Benner respectively.
The Corny Collins heart throb, Link Larkin was played by Jonathan Jaycock. His mum said before the show that Jonathan was really nervous but if that was the case, he either hid them well or lost them as soon as the curtain went up.
Seaweed was played by the ultra cool Yara Johns-Ramos and equally as cool was Hattie Campion as Little Inez. Grace Hodgett-Young showed off her amazingly soulful voice as Motormouth, especially in the gorgeous "I Know Where I've Been".
There was a large ensemble who were equally as joyful to watch and several future stars were on show tonight.
Great dancing from all and everyone looked like they were having a ball on stage. the songs are infectious and the enthusiasm was plain to see, and all of this in the space of two weeks.
There are several musicals which I’ve felt aren’t quite suitable for that additional “Jnr” tag, but this isn’t one of them. It’s great fun, it’s colourful and it gives out a wonderful message to the kids and the audience about racial harmony and class division.
I can only imagine the two weeks leading up to this performance were a great introduction and education for the kids who were having their first taste of being in the spotlight, but also a fun fortnight, because you can't put on a show like "Hairspray" without enjoying what you do, because that would show. I sat there with an inane grin on my face for all of the night because this group made me feel that way.
Another brilliant Summer School Scheme from the Nottingham Arts Theatre and another amazing cast of talented kids, who should all feel absolutely over the moon by what they've achieved.

Friday, 28 July 2017

“WW! - Present Location Uncertain”
The Vine Community Centre, Basford.
As part of the WW1 Community Project, this is something that is a little bit different; so what’s it all about?
“Present Location Uncertain” is based on the World War 1 letters of Nottingham soldier, Harold Priestley. The Project recalls the life of Priestley, who fought on The Western Front, and his family and the community during the period 1914-18. This is in association with Djanogly City Academy.
The set makes an instant impact with large scale letters hung up around the performance area. It starts with an unnamed man going through some old memorabilia and discovering the letters in an old case; from there we are taken back to where Harold Priestley meets his soon to be wife, Eva.
We follow his footsteps through his courting days, the mother who obviously feels that Eva is not good enough for her son, the wedding, their son, called "Sonny", and Harold getting his call up papers.
From there on the mood changes and you get to feel the longing and emptiness felt by both as they converse through letters, some of which don't get through. This is cleverly depicted in the simplest of ways, but is so powerful.
And that is the theme that runs through this short play; simple but powerful and emotive. This makes the delivery of the news of Harold's death even more powerful. You can feel the love these two people have for each other and the massive space between the two is well portrayed.
The cast, Maddy Chapman, Angela Hayes, Andy Hutchinson, Emily KelseyMarcus Whybrow, Molly Wright, Thomas Randall, Rania Dante, Sonny Hale, Maggie Burrows and Rayyan Yousef Khan are excellent in telling this story, which is basically a love story across time and space, but what we shouldn't forget is that this is a true story.
I loved the puppetry in this play as well to portray Sonny. A clever piece of theatre which when executed well, as it is here, adds to the play.
Directed by Sarah Stevenson with design by Sarah Lewis. What also creates that special atmosphere is the instrumental music. the Sound Design is by Matt Marks and the wonderful story telling is all thanks to the wonderful direction and the dramaturg, Beth Shouler.
I've seen plays like this in the past but for some reason this was different and it strikes home, maybe it's the rich story telling element and the way these actors brought the letters and the words from the letters to life, who knows? This is a special play and should be seen by more people, especially school kids, and I hope that this will be the case.
The project itself will conserve and digitise 88 letters plus postcards and photographs in the possession of David Priestley, Harold’s grandson. The digitised collection will be deposited with the Vine and at Local Studies in Nottingham’s Central Library.
There'll also be a film made of this story and play and will be shown on 11 November 2017 at Central Library in Nottingham.
The title of the project is taken from the words stamped on letters returned to Eva, Harold’s wife, from the Western Front in 1918, when Harold could not be found after fighting on the Front line. He had fallen in battle near Arras.
This is community theatre at it's best and I have Euan David to thank for inviting me down to see this lovely, thought-provoking piece of true history.