Review: When the Wind Blows
'When the wind blows…' – the nursery rhyme doesn’t end
well, and nor does Raymond Briggs’s story.
The official message on the screen that comes down at
the beginning of Donnamarie Stamp’s production makes
clear the imminent threat of nuclear war and the need to 'Protect and Survive'.
Then the curtains open and there is normality: Hilda and
Jim Bloggs, an elderly couple, at the start of an ordinary
day… until Jim reads about the situation in his newspaper. "Blimey!"
They are loving, bickering, and trusting, believing in the powers-that-be as they build a shelter and prepare for a nuclear attack in the spirit of World War II (which they remember with nostalgia).
While we laugh at the ludicrous governmental instructions,
at Jim’s malapropisms and Hilda’s misunderstandings, and their naivety, we are made aware of the horrors to come
by the interspersed official announcements and the ominous rumblings.
This black humour continues even after the interval, when we see the devastation caused by the Bomb.
The meticulous kitchen/living room/garden set, with its cupboards, fridge, sofa, pictures, ornaments, etc has become blackened and scorched (even the plants in the garden). The set-builders were given a difficult task and, once again, showed their craftsmanship.
The backstage crew work tirelessly throughout: the props
list and changes must be endless! Lighting and effects are many and, as usual, technically perfect.
The performances (a two-hander is very demanding) are
tours de force. Barry Nicholls shows Jim to be determined
to do ‘the correct thing’; gentle with his uncomprehending wife, the only time he raises his voice is when he has to
force her into the shelter: a believable portrayal of a dogged man. We know from experience that Lesley Warburton is
very good, and this time she is superb: her voice and body language convey a cliché of a housewife, concerned about
her cushions and curtains, ignorant of the world, scolding
and helping her husband at the same time.
Donnamarie’s inclusion of official announcements, the music
at the start and end, and the pace of the production,
with its bustling beginning and slow, sad conclusion, give
us a sensitive interpretation of the story and its strong political message. She has directed a hugely talented team
and given RLT audiences a play to remember
Reviewed by Christina Jones
OUR NEXT PRODUCTION
It is the 1950s and this charming comedy introduces the Nightingales, members of a theatrical family who perform more at home than they do on the stage. Jack is a cabaret star, as in love with his piano as he is with his silk dressing gowns. His parents, Charlie and Beatrice, are old Music Hall stars, full of hilarious tales of life on the road. Maggie performs with Jack in the evenings and regularly visits his house to rehearse, drink tea, and tell the sorry tale of her latest romantic disaster. If only she and Jack realized that their true love was right in front of them.
The sudden arrival of Charlie and Beatrice, asking to stay with Jack for a few days, throws his and Maggie's lives into chaos. They promise to be gone by Christmas, but this provides little comfort given that it is only January 7th! Jack's housekeeper Geraldine copes masterfully with the ensuing disruption, but then Beatrice unexpectedly disappears. It seems that this was not a simple visit, but an opportunity for her to leave Charlie and run off to another liaison in France. The question is, will anyone find their true love? Are there such things as happy endings? And what do performers do once the spotlight goes out? This is a very funny, touching showbusiness comedy, bursting with one-liners and lovable characters.
Click here for booking information.
Retford Little Theatre is pleased to annouce our 78th
Season of plays will open with A Foot in the Door
by Richard Harris, and
with The Nightingales
A Bunch of Amateurs (Ian Hislop, Nick Newman), Fondly Remembered (Gareth Armstrong) and When the Wind Blows (Raymond Briggs) complete the season's line up.
Click here to download a copy of the 2018-2019 season brochure (printed copies available at the theatre Box Office).
Further details of all the plays in the
2018-19 season, including ticket information, can be found here.