Retford Little Theatre logo

Blue Remembered Hills Review

by Graeme Cumming

Potter brings us back to childhood.

The latest production at Retford Little Theatre is Blue Remembered Hills by Dennis Potter.

Potter's work was predominantly TV based, though some – like this – have been adapted for stage.

Blue Remembered Hills doesn't follow normal convention, which reflects Potter's own unique creativity.

A key element is the casting of adults as seven year olds. Set on a summer's day in 1943,
it explores their relationships and the "pecking order" that often develops in youngsters –
some of that pecking in the form of bullying.

The cast didn't seem to have any problems recalling what being a seven-year old was like – and I mean that in the best possible way. From domineering Peter through playful Willie and stuttering Raymond to manipulative Angela, the portrayals were convincing.

With a cast of seven, it's hard to comment on individual performances without unintentionally undermining those not mentioned. Nevertheless, David Taylor's "Donald" stood out, largely because of the sympathy he draws from the audience in the relatively short time we see him.

As ever, the sets need a special mention. The main one was visible on first entering the auditorium, providing a sense of place and time in advance of the performance, and was used to great effect. Later, a supplementary set is revealed, complete with special effects, for the horrific finale.

Blue Remembered Hills is a short play, presumably because it was originally written to fill a
TV slot. As a result, for the most part it is fairly fast-paced.

In contrast, the introductory poems, whilst read effectively, did feel a little laboured and unnecessarily long. Having said that, I wasn't aware of restiveness amongst the rest of
the audience, so that may be a personal preference.

All in all, Retford Little Theatre has yet again demonstrated its ability to put on a very professional production.