Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh. Now. If you're at a loose end tonight, you could do worse than go see Arkle's We Happy Few.

I'd like to say it's a weird little play. But I can't. It's a weird incredibly long play. Three hours inc. interval. Practically a marathon. But it tells a worthy true story about a pair of women that set up a theatre company during the (second world) war and travelled around the (UK) country performing Shakespeare and perhaps some other plays too. They enlisted some other women too and a handy man driver and had all sorts of (long) laughs and japes in the ensuing years. Thom Dibdin writes cruelly but accurately about the unnecessarily tough and stringy meat of the script.

But lumpen script aside, there are some really lovely performances. Hilary is charming as the supposed sourpuss but actually just broken-hearted willpower behind the endeavour. Hazel does a fine and rousing comic but silently grieving turn. Bronagh is quite lovely as Charlie, the kind of androgynous one who - lazy script - turns out to be a lesbian. Great to see Danielle Farrow on stage and she was suitably tortured as the unforgiving Jewish mother who rose to the knifey occasion when necessary. And we had a very sweet northern maid and German sweetheart to add a little (more) romantic / tragic interest.

45 minutes shorter and it would have been all the more heart-rending. But this is no fault of the actors.

I don't know if there are any tickets left at all - but if you do get one, take a cushion.


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