19th Feb – 22rd Feb 2014 at The Gracie Fields Theatre. Reviewed by Sharon Drummond National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA)
The atmosphere was set as soon as we came into the auditorium with patriotic flags hanging, a newsreel showing films of the time and each of us were given a flag to wave during the show. Some members of the audience had dressed in 40’s costume including army uniforms.
The story is set against the backdrop of World War 2 and follows the fortunes of the Parker family. The music (of which there is plenty) is all from the 40’s or prior to that period.
The set was minimal but worked well and the orchestra were on stage and very much a part of many of the scenes.
It was a large cast which included all ages and also had an MC to get into the audience to coax involvement in the show with singing and stories of wartime memories. James Cockerill did a great job on this as he had a wonderful singing voice and real warmth when talking to the audience. This was the first time I had seen this show with this role which helped it work in a big auditorium.
The costumes hair and make up were great and very keeping with the time, along with many of the props. The lighting plot worked well and there were no problems with sound.
The cast (too many to mention individually) performed well. The Parker family are at the centre of the story and each of the actors characterised their parts and delivered their lines well. Some of the emotional scenes were skated over somewhat or lost due to the MC’s intervention on certain scenes but normally this show is performed in much smaller auditoriums. There are plenty of lines for many members of the cast who had each worked hard to deliver these well. Despite the subject matter there were also many comedic scenes and the women in line outside shops, at the cinema and over the garden fence were nicely staged and delivered.
The society delivered a lovely show with nice vocals on the company numbers which the audience really enjoyed.