Region 5 - Sylvia Blogg
This presentation was given in support of the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum and was written by Jean Selfe who is an authority on the Second World War. This was evident from the authenticity of the set and the costumes. The play is set in 1945 and concerns a group of ladies from all walks of life, who decide to stage a concert in aid of the war effort. The first half is devoted to practising for the show and the second is the performance itself.
During the first half especially, because the venue is not large, the company did not seem to realise the need for projection. The dialogue was too intimate and conversational with too much cross talk on the stage. This resulted in a rather subdued performance. No-one was inaudible, although diction could have been clearer in a few cases, but greater projection would have made for easier listening. The highlight of the first half was a beautiful rendering of "When They Sound the Last All Clear". It was sung by the whole company in the cellar during an air raid and all the cast had small battery torches. At the same time, film shots on a screen showed the devastation that was taking place during the raid. An interesting feature of the whole production was interspersing of film with live performance.
The second half saw the performers in action and featured popular songs of the period as well as individual items. Unfortunately, some of these were delivered from too far back on the stage so they made less impact than they would have done had they been placed further forward. That certainly did not apply to Frank Tucker who gave a scintillating performance of "At Last". Another outstanding artiste was Jean Selfe, the Director, in two comedy numbers, "My Old Man" and "Why am I Always the Bridesmaid". The musical director, David Lammler, gave a beautiful interpretation of Glenn Miller's "Moonlight Serenade" on the keyboard. He also directed most competently all the music in the show, never allowing it to overpower the artistes. Finally, there was a rousing Finale of patriotic songs with film shots of King George VI and ending with a picture of Queen Elizabeth II and the National Anthem sung with great gusto by the cast and members of the audience, which was a fitting ending to an enjoyable evening.