Although children were not immune to the horrors that unfolded around them, their resilience gave birth to a spirit of adventure.CAPTIVATING: Hope And Glory rehearsals by Class Act Theatre company.
This is the story of Hope And Glory, directed by David Wrightam; it portrays the war through the eyes of 10-year-olds.
Unlike the première, however, adults now play the part of the children and this not only adds an exciting new dimension to the play but also raises the comedic bar.
Rob Bishop is the spirited Sidney, leader of the all-male Mighty Gang, while their rivals are the all-girl Dolly Club, led by Barbara Lidgard as his conniving sister Peggy.
Their adventures lead them to play among bombed out buildings, imagine spies around every corner; indulge in initiation ceremonies that could only spring from the fertile imagination of boys and recklessly playing with an unexploded bomb.
This rich source of humour weaves between the terrors of an air raid, the pain of a telegram from the King advising of a father’s death in battle and the agony of separation through evacuation.
A succession of narrators, accompanied by archive newsreel footage, guides us through life on the home front and the six-year journey to victory.
A journey reflected through a series of interconnected vignettes, some powerfully evoking that wartime spirit of determination; such as the tube station shelter scene in which the cast rise in defiance to sing The White Cliffs Of Dover.
Steven Greenwood brings us the loveable, hyperactive Cyril while Jane Micallef and Stephen Campbell capture the tenderness of a surrogate mother’s love for an evacuee.
Laughter, tears and heartache are the emotional strains running through this play and they certainly trigger those hairs on the back of your neck.