When The Lights Go On Again

Date 15th April 2015
Society Driffield Musical Theatre
Venue Driffield School
Type of Production Musical
Director Veronica Winter
Musical Director Martin Salter
Choreographer Kate Burniston

Report

Author: Tony Harris

This show transports us back to the days of World War ll and is centred on the Parker family, all of whom hold differing views of what is going on.

To give proper sense of timing there are a number of interludes which allow for projection of pictures of familiar faces and scenes from the time, accompanied by sound recordings of speeches by the likes of Chamberlain, Churchill and Attlee.  In effect, the show is a compilation of a series of loosely linked sketches, readings of letters to and from the front line and several selections of well-known songs from the era.

Paul Thompson held the family together as Fred Parker and he was supported by Sally Wade as his wife, Alice, Veronica Winter (Gran), Harry Bulmer, who showed great potential as David, who signs up to the Navy, Chloe Ellis (Jane) together with Evie Turton and Edward Wakeley as the youngest members, Susan and Jimmy.  They formed a warm unit.

The youngsters were joined at the school by Freya Crosswaite, Eve Hughes and Gabrielle Turton and, collectively, they were a delight, singing and moving together confidently.

Musical numbers, solos and groups, were acceptably performed but in some cases diction could have been better.  I also felt that the emotion which some of the lyrics warranted did not really come across and at times there seemed to be a lack of conviction that would surely have been part of the war effort at home.

Much of the comedy was found in scenes such as the Saturday night dance, the Camp Concert, “Over the garden wall” and the queues for the cinema and butchers with some solid characterisations by all the cast, a number of whom doubled up on parts.

A simple set and lighting was used and costumes were in keeping with the characters portrayed.

Although the show itself is perhaps a trifle too long, the audience was happy to sit back and join in with the songs, waving the flags which were available on entering the hall.

Front of house staff dressed as soldiers and char ladies and there was evidence of bunting and sandbags in the foyer area, adding to the wartime feel and helping to create the right atmosphere from the start which was then maintained throughout.