|Blue Remembered Hills|
The Questors Theatre Until 2 February
Television scriptwriter Dennis Potter (1935-1994) has written some highly innovative but controversial stuff in his time - as well as The Singing Detective (1986) which received hundreds of complaints, Brimstone and Treacle (1977) was banned by the BBC for seven years.
Never one to shy away from difficult issues, in Blue Remembered Hills, Potter once again seeks to shock and succeeds, the audience is left thoughtful but subdued.
Questors ensemble of adults who perform each of the roles in the group of seven year-olds are remarkable in their energy. We can really believe they are children romping about The Forest of Dean during the Second World War.
The physicality of the group is to be noted, as is the intensity of each of the character portrayals.
It doesn't take long before you see that these children aren't sweet, innocent or remotely cute. Potter takes us on a journey showing the worst of human nature - bullying, physical cruelty and psychological torture.
The play lasts just over an hour and is directed with precision by Pam Redrup who has elicited some excellent performances from her ensemble.
I admired all of them - total conviction is portrayed by this Questors' cast who capture the childlike qualities of youngsters - both amusing and sinister : Mark Redrup (Willie), Juliette Bartelds(Angela), Kerri Logan (Audrey), Wesley Lloyd (Donald), Tim Pemberton (John)and Robert Vass (Raymond).
However, it was the thoroughly unpleasant character of Peter, played magnificently by Simon Roberts, that stood out for me. He has a commanding adult presence on stage yet is completely believable as a nasty bullying child.
Lighting, sound and costume often get overlooked so a mention must be made to Nigel Lewis, Paul Comerford and Nichola Thomas. Between them they captured the atmosphere and war-time era perfectly.
Questors is Ealing's local theatre and puts on some real gems.
This play is on until tomorrow - I urge you to go and see it.
Ist February 2013