Flare Path

Date 15th March 2012
Society Penarth Operatic & Dramatic Society
Venue Paget Rooms, Penarth
Type of Production Play
Director Margaret Donaldson

Report

Author: Frank Wooles

Close to the centenary of the birth, in 1911, of one of the most prolific of British dramatists Sir Terence Rattigan CBE, and seventy years after opening at the Apollo Theatre, London in 1942, this beautifully crafted and balanced play Flare Path, proved as powerful and emotive as ever.
The play is set in the dark days of the war in 1940, at a small hotel near a Lincolnshire RAF bomber base where flying crew plan to spend the weekend with their wives. The weekend does not go as planned when the crew are called out and doubts and fears surface for their safe return.
An emotional romantic triangle comes to a head when Flight Lt. Teddy Graham’s (Mike Freeman) glamorous actress wife, played by Amanda Matthews, finds fellow actor Peter Kyle (Mike Gelder), is in love with her and staying at the hotel. Tense moments, with Teddy nearing a breakdown, which will sorely test love and loyalty. Difficult roles played with sensitivity and skill.
A warm touching performance by Tiffany Barker, as Doris, British wife of Polish flyer Count (Johnny) Skriczevinsky, amusingly played with flashes of pathos and drama by Robert Gairey. In contrast Tom Powell and Medina Bailey, were simple and charismatic as Sgt. (Dusty Miller), and his wife Maudie, to complete the crew members.
Strong support by Val Mallows, as the formidable, softhearted receptionist Mrs Oakes, Josh Dutfield as Percy, the cheery barman, and George Atkins, impressive and fatherly as Squadron Leader Swanson.
Margaret Donaldson’s taut, atmospheric production had a good feel for the wartime period of the play and its moments of drama and humour, stoicism and hope, played by an enviable cast of experienced and able players, made this an impressive revival of Flare Path, and Rattigan at his finest.