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Blue Remembered Hills
by Dennis Potter
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14th NOVEMBER - 22nd NOVEMBER 2014 (376th PRODUCTION)

This apparently simple tale relates the activities of seven-year-olds (played by adults) on a summer afternoon during World War II.

The children's world becomes a microcosm of adult interaction.

Willie tags along as Peter bullies Raymond and is challenged by fair-minded John.

Audrey is over-shadowed by Angela's prettiness and wreaks her frustrations on the boys.

All gang up on the terrified `Donald Duck' who, abused by his mother and ridiculed by his peers, plays his own dangerous game of pyromania which ends in tragedy.

Produced by Mike Nixon.

 

 

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.

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