The Accrington Pals review: War play proves '˜rewarding' watch at Thornton Little Theatre
Don't get the impression that this intense and moving story, written in 1981 by Peter Whelan, about a real-life battalion wiped out in the trenches, and their women left at home in Lancashire, is just a tear-jerker.
Sentimentality has no place in this play, it leaves simple pathos behind.
Under Angela Hudson’s and Jack Evans’ direction, the cast of ten turned in fine, solid performances.
Central to the excellence of the performance was the relationship between May, the “tartar,” sharp-tongued spirit of free enterprise, and the quiet, sensible Eva, who knows the weakness of her man yet loves him for it. Jacqui Rhodes and Lisa Carolan were extremely strong and equally sensitive as these wonderful women.
The smaller roles rounded them out well.
Every part was important, but especially Judi Adams who with humour and warmth, added a welcome lightness, and Jack Evans as Ralph, with his natural performance and (almost) Full Monty bath moment.
This is an extremely challenging piece for any theatre group to portray but this stimulating and rewarding story was brought to life admirably by the Windmill Players to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One.
With powerful use of back projection and simple staging, we were taken swiftly from the parlour of a house in Accrington to Flanders fields in the blink of an eye, dropping in on real people living real lives in real situations.
The evening, and particularly the finale, was a fitting tribute indeed to those who gave their tomorrows for our todays.
The Windmill Players is an award-winning amateur dramatic society based in Wyre. It was formed in 1946 and produces three shows a year at Thornton Little Theatre, in Fleetwood Road North, and also donated some of its proceeds to charity.
The play has been held daily from 7.30pm. It will end tomorrow. Tickets can be booked on (01253) 887693.
Sarah Jane Stone