Director Barbara Harris
Last year we remembered the bloody battlefield of the Somme. This centenary of the theatre of war has been relived through drama. To help morale and to keep the British spirit up entertainment was extremely important. Life had to go on and a wedding was still a joyful event with all its make-do and mend.
To create a piece of theatre using original material from the 1940s must have been quite a challenge for young performers. I don’t think their education included raiding the archives of the BBC for the ITMA scripts.
This revue was devised by the director as an evening of nostalgia and sing-a-long which included the audience as guests at the wedding. There were scenes ranging from “Gone with the Wind” (“I don’t give adamn”)to Rob Wilton’s sketch, “The Day War Broke Out”.
The iconic image of home entertainment for this period was the family sitting round the radio; this was recreated using the bride’s family throughout, concluding with their daughter’s wedding.
Bearing in mind their ages and how much knowledge they had of WW2, all the cast handled the material very well, Not only did they have to understand the way people dealt with home life during this period but there was the humour to get across. “It’s in the Box” was a sketch written and performed by a master of comic timing, Jimmy James. It is about a man claiming he has wild animals in a small box. The comedy comes from the interchange between three performers. Malachy McCormack, Harry Bailey and Adam Gibson absolutely nailed it. Master of Ceremonies, and taker of many roles, Paddy Bever, once again showed his versatility. His skill with comedy is really developing.
There was a cookery demonstration using war-time rations with “Mrs Beeston” (lzzy Ekgren) reminding some of the audience of those times. For the air-raid shelter, factory and evacuee scenes, each section was played out with enthusiasm and honesty.
Katie’s wedding cake was made with its cardboard façade and the wedding dress completed on time. Parents, Jean, Natasha Dunn, and Arthur, Harry Bailey, and their children, were a typical Homefront family. Nemone Wolfendale portrayed their daughter, Katie, showing stage presence and good enunciation.
I must make a special mention of the young Li Chow, who put his heart and soul into all he was doing on stage.
Hard work with the cast by the Director, assisted by Rob McGregor, paid off. Everyone on stage contributed to the production. All the music was appreciated by the sing out loud audience, whilst the solo numbers were well executed. “Homefront Wedding” was an entertaining evening which reflected how communities supported and entertained each other in times of conflict.
Reviewed By Association of Community Theatre