Review of NO WAY BACK - Virtual Theatre Company
There must be any number of saviour-hearted organisations from both the world wars getting unintentionally overlooked in all the commemorating. One of these is – or rather, has been until now – the splendid VADs. Voluntary Aid Detachment, which strikes my ear as strangely formal and bloodless by comparision. Yet the words are an accurate enough description. The young women formed a detachment, even if they could hardly have been more attached to their work; they were all volunteers, and my goodness didn’t they aid. High time they got themselves memorialised in the words and music of a stage show. Thanks to director John Drewry and his Virtual Theatre Company’s team of some dozen players, singers and technicians, this has now happened and Memories of War has been mobilised. Where better to catch the crack troupe than at the home of the Second War’s star player, Winston Churchill. Here, in the Mulberry Room in the grounds of Chartwell, Drewry and his team have just completed a well-attended three-night run. It’s a game of two halves, first one devoted to First War, second to Second. “No Way Back,” as the first half of the show is called, draws much of its humour, and its poignancy, from the spectacle of genteel shire girls and daughters of the manse turning up for duty as they might for the onerous game-playing at country house weekends. Naturally this world was far more complex and, since the government of Lloyd-George, far more threatened than it liked to let on. The resulting strange English composite of grit, wit, feigned insouciance and moral backbone is beautifully evoked here by Suzanna Rickmann, Marie Kelly, Diana Scougal and the Drewrys John and Eunice.
Review of ON THE HALLS 19 March 2014