There's a new kid in town.
A new kid who flounces and projects and stalks around the stage wiggling their eyebrows with the best of them. My work place has started up a new staff drama society. They are very new but my word do they know what they are doing!
However a few of my colleagues were able to commit and after months of hearing stories about rehearsals and line learning the time finally came to see them in action. One of my colleagues, Jo, mobilised us and we went on a staff outing across the campus to the theatre for dinner and a night of entertainment.
The play is written by Terrence Rattigan in 1941 and is partly based on his own wartime experiences during the 2nd World War in England.
The play opens with actors already in position and quietly showing the day to day life of this little hotel in Lincolnshire near a RAF base.
We are introduced to three women who are all waiting for their pilot husbands to spend a couple of days on leave. There is Pat, an actress who is married to Teddy the bomber pilot, Doris who is married to the Polish Count who is serving in the RAF, and Maudie who arrives late who is married to Dusty, Teddy's tail gunner. Each of the couples have their own quirks and foibles and there are three very distinct types of relationships on display.
In addition there is also the strict and no-nonsense Hotel Manager, Mrs Oakes and the barmaid, Percy as well as Squadron Leader Swanson and a young airman, Wiggy.
During the course of the evening we learn that one of the planes is shot down upon take-off and one has not returned from their mission. Pat starts to unravel slowly as her worry for Teddy's safety conflicts with her desire to elope with Peter. A lot of alcohol is consumed.
Once alone Teddy confesses to Pat that he was terrified. He was responsible for the lives of 6 men and he wasn't sure that he would be able to bring them home, and the only thing that kept him going was the thought of Pat. He breaks down on her, who realises that she truly loves him and could never leave him.
The next morning she leaves a note for Peter explaining her decision. He takes this very badly and confronts Pat, threatening to tell Teddy what has been going on between them. Before he has a chance to though the Countess asks Peter, who speaks French, to translate a letter that the Count had left for her that was only to be opened upon the event of his death. As Peter reads the letter to the Countess he realises that he would never be able to force Pat to leave Teddy and changes his mind about outing her, leaving the hotel quietly.
I was incredibly impressed with the level of professionalism from all the cast and crew, especially considering that for most of them this was their first experience with amateur dramatics, adding weight to the expression that 'amateur does not mean poor quality'.
I am really quite keen to see what this new group comes up with next!