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
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.
Letter to the Retford Times
We are writing to commend Retford Little Theatre on their last play Blue Remembered Hills by Dennis Potter.
The acting was superb and the set excellent.
It's not easy for men of a certain age to play children, the knees said it all, but they pulled it off to perfection, as did the two girls.
The music, voice of Churchill and the bubbles all added to the show.
It's a shame it wasn't a full house. We are so lucky to have this wonderful theatre.
Remember the saying 'use it or lose it' - and that would be a tragedy.
John and Susan Birks