Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Play Review: Private Resistance


Following an extended family in rural England, Private Resistance is the ultimate "What If" scenario.

Tom recruiting Frank to run the Essex branch of the AUs.
Tom & Frank.
(from left)
It’s 1940 and the Jerry’s are invading wartime Britain. Churchill has set up a network of Auxiliary Units (AUs) based in underground bunkers and has provided them with highly explosive weapons. The secret AUs seem to be Britain’s last chance. German soldiers are shooting innocent men (and boys), and the railways are being used to transport Jews to prisoner of war camps in Europe. Relationships are tested, hope is lost and freedom is but a distant dream. Private Resistance is in two parts: Germany invading followed by a May Day uprising, three years on, led by the Communists and people of Britain. It is a truly intense, heartrending and emotional performance written by Eastern Angles’ Artistic Director, Ivan Cutting.

The plot was
well structured and easy for the audience to follow. It was unravelled slowly through the way the characters interacted with each other and what they said. A real sense of the era was conveyed through the language used in the script; common slang from the time was used correctly and helped the audience to connect with the characters as though they were not fictional. The premise of the play was build solidly on historical facts with the expected fictional changes.

Diane (stood) & Prue (sat).
There were six characters central to Private Resistance: Tom (Matt Addis), Frank (Phil Pritchard), Alan (Phil Pritchard, second act), Prue (Bishanyia Vincent), Wilf (Fred Lancaster) and Diane (Frances Marshall). All five actors deserve a huge pat on the back for such a wonderful performance. They all remained professional, focused and composed. I found the enactment to be believable and realistic. There was a strong connection between the actors which helped to pull the play together. The cast were very skilled-- one member of the audience said to me, “They were really good; better than most actors on TV.”

The stage itself was simple, yet effective. The backdrop was a message, from the Ministry of Information, that read: “Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might.” which links perfectly with the storyline. The props were not a distraction from the actors and were utilised well. Cleverly masked behind the screen was the inside of an OB (Operational Bunker used by the AUs), which essentially created two different, contrasting settings. Costume and makeup helped the characters come to life; it was clear that the 1940’s style had been well researched.

Prue & Wilf.
At the end of the play there wasn’t a person in the room who didn’t applaud. The audience reacted brilliantly throughout the performance as well as at the end. There were laughs at the few lines of humour, and the audience was engrossed in what was happening on stage. As everyone filed out, the words “fantastic”, “superb” and “amazing” carried on the air. It’s safe to say that Private Resistance is highly recommended by just about everyone, including me. A well done to Ivan Cutting, the writer, Naomi Jones, the director, and all of the cast and crew for doing such a fantastic job!








DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to the photographs used in this review. The photographs of the actors were provided by Eastern Angles.

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