Review: Carrie’s War

Harlow Playhouse / Wed 11th Jun 2014 pm30 12:41pm

Review: Carries War

By Jo O’Reilly

IT’S often said that the British look back at the Blitz spirit of the 40s, the rose tinted glasses, the same can be said of favour

The Apollo Theatre Company’s Carries War should work on stage, and it does to some extent but it feels distant, like a fond memory too faded to relish properly.

Carrie’s character, so central to the plot is hard to relate too, and the show is stolen by the character of her younger brother Nick.

In fact, for a story where the female characters really should carry the plot, here they seem to be playing the supporting cast, with the exception of Amanda Reed’s fantastic Hepzebah, just the right mix of pragmatic and and mystical, it’s hard to not find this disappointing. The male characters act them off the stage.

Auntie Lou, like Carrie loses many of the characters sympathetic qualities and I found myself struggling to sympathise with her feeble rebellion against the tyranny of her brother Mr Evans. Even Mrs Gotobe dressed in her finery fails to make an impact, despite the costume department’s best efforts.

In contrast the portrayal of Mr Johnny is acted both accurately and with taste, the relationship between his and Nicks character as touching as the book, it adds real warmth to the production.

If you read the book so long ago you don’t remember it, this could work, as would it for younger audience unfamiliar with the book. It’s a good performance in it’s own right, an imaginative look at the lives and experiences of the evacuees in an accessible way. But for those who read (and loved) the book, it might not live up to the memory.

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