Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford
Thursday 15th March 2012
Suffolk. 1940. The Nazis have advanced through France to the coast and have taken Dunkirk. They are on their way.
The premise of Eastern Angles spring tour is a thought-provoking one. How would England have fared under German occupation?
We were specifically introduced to the local Auxiliary Unit, Churchill's real secret guerrilla army, who under the fictional occupation in this show were very much activated.
The smaller scale, yet no less dangerous, resistance of a small Suffolk family is the major storyline, and one can believe and admire the British pluck in their underground pamphlet writing and secret radio sessions. The radio was an integral device, as it conveyed to the audience the state of the country under occupation - the Royals escaping to Canada, the trains-full of Jewish families being taken out of Manchester, the looting of the rich households.
"Freedom is in peril, Defend it with all your might" is the legend on the posters, commissioned by Churchill for use if the German's were to invade, and is bedecked all across the simple yet ingeniously effective set, which allowed for two distinct locations to be cleanly realised, even at the same time in one split scene.
Some dramatic lighting changes saw the characters switch to asides, describing the events surrounding their deaths, mostly too young and awfully brutal.
An evening up to Eastern Angles usual high standard in both subject matter and execution, I can't wait to see what they come up with next.