Monday, October 10, 2011

Friend or Foe -Review- Customs House

 Friend or Foe
Customs House
10 October 2011

Friend or Foe is an exciting tale of adventure and friendship set at the height of the Second World War.
David and Tucky have been evacuated from London and after settling into their new life in the countryside with Mr Reynolds and his wife Ann, they feel like the war is a long way away from their old lives in London.
Then one night the skyline of the moor is lit up with gun flashes, and the distant crump of bombing miles away brings the war back to them and shatters their new-found peace.
When a German bomber crashes, the boys feel they should hate the airmen inside…but one of them saves David's life...

As I entered the theatre, I couldn't believe how many schoolchildren and their teachers were in the audience. Obviously War in history is being taught all the time, and no better way of introducing the kids to a pleasant evening of bombing and bloodshed than to bring them to see Scamp and Watford Palace Theatre's production of Michael Morpurgo's Friend of Foe.
The two poor unfortunate evacuees David (Paul Sandys) and Tucky (Matthew Hamper) leave the war ravaged London and head to Devon. What greets them there is peace, tranquillity, chickens and the odd off course damaged German fighter plane.
During the course of the play the children confide in their new hosts that during a raid on Plymouth a stray plane had been seen by them close to the hills of their surroundings. At first the children have no luck in getting their message across, the army are called but their comments are more or less laughed off, so our lovable chap go in search of the truth. The truth is out there, Friends and Foes are out there.
A very good all-in-one stage set up which had us transformed from the crushing evacuee train to the bus journey taking our friends to their temporary farm home. The first scenes of the kids meeting the German airmen at the bog were very well done, great lighting and effects really made the audience believe in what they were seeing. What they did see was some fine acting from all on the stage, our heroes who commanded the stage were superb and told the story of their friendship and the happenings with great skill, if the children in the audience aspire to tread the boards then Scamp and Watford have set them in a great vision for the future.
Janet Greaves, Michael Palmer and Chris Porter all played superb multiple parts, which all combined in the cooking pot of theatre made one of the best, warm and meaty kid friendly plays that I have seen.
The touring players must be very pleased with their performances, if four actors in front of an audience full of  sweet and chocolate hungry kids-and to keep them moderately quiet, then they must be good. I cant wait to see what else their company can come up with if they visit again.
Unfortunately this was a one-day-only visit, with an afternoon and night performance. It was really pleasing to see the auditorium full of happy faces. I am sure the Customs House will need to restock their confectionary shelves.
It's never great with Monday blues, but Scamp and Watford blew away the dark clouds for an hour and a half. Can they come every week please..!!

Michael Hunter

1 comment:

  1. Yes what a pleasant end to a dreary Monday...
    Loved the play so much I hardly reacted to the constant background noise of rustling sweetie wrappers...
    Lovely heart felt review Mr Hunter well done xxx