Review by David Munro
DANCING in the Dark tells the story of the war
as experienced by the people of Croydon. The authors, Jenny Lee
and John McNab, have taken true life stories and incidents which
are narrated or acted out by four young actors accompanied by
Coherence is accomplished by focusing on four fictional Croydonians
- Mavis (Sonia Beck), Ethel (Sophie Russell), Bill (Simon Balfour)
and Arthur (Marco Williamson).
They slip in and out of these characters portraying, amongst
others, pilots, music hall entertainers, other local characters
whenever necessary, interspersing the episodes with popular songs.
This revue format suits the theme admirably and manges to create
an illusion of wartime life without taking it too seriously, softening
the edges of some of the harsher realities of wartime life illustrated.
Their accompanist, Sue Appelby, apart from singing also takes
part in some of the episodes and the five, together with props
concealed in wooden crates scattered round the bare stage, create
a passable portrait of life in the war in so far as it affected
the man in the street.
The director, Mehrdad Seyf, keeps
the show moving at a spanking pace so that the war is over almost
before it had begun and something that could have been pretentious
and patronising became an amusing illustrated lecture and a credit
to all concerned.
I do not know how much longer this show is continuing. It has
been touring round Croydon for the last couple of weeks or so
as part of Croydon’s remembrance of WW2.
I hope there is an afterlife for it as it is a good little show
and deserves a wider audience.
If therefore you see it coming to some hall or theatre near you,
try to catch it and find out how, despite everything, the memory
of the war can be preserved with good humour and taste.
Dancing In The Dark (A celebration of the lives of the
people of Croydon in World War 2).
Written by Jenny Lee and Tom McNab.
Directed – Mehrdad Sayf.
Design – Gasbriella Csarryl-Wills.
Costumes – Caroline Bird.
Musical Director – Sue Appelby.
CAST: Sonia Beck; Sophie Russell; Simon Balfour; Marco Williamson.
Presented by Attic Theatre Company & Croydon Clocktower. Croydon
Clocktower, Katherine Street, Croydon, Surrey.
Tuesday, Sept 27, 2005 (and on tour)
Perfs. 3pm & 8pm.
BOX OFFICE: 020 8253 1030