HOW IT ENDED
conceived by Emily Watson Howes devised by the cast.
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts 25 October 2009.
Runs 1hr No interval.
TICKETS: 01628 788997.
Runs 1 hr.
Review: Mark Courtice 23 October at Nuffield Theatre Southampton.
Bleak story of love that dies.
It’s 2nd World Wartime, and Frenchman Raymond meets Welsh girl Lilian while he’s training to be a pilot near her home. After a courtship by phrase book, they fall in love and get married before he goes off to fight. Come the peace, they move to his home in France where their daughter is born.
In what turns out to be a tale of love that dies a new company called You Need Me tell their bleak little story with empathy and skill.
Their resources are themselves, creating moments in an instant of music, or a sound effect, or a flurry of bodies across the theatre-in-the-round stage.
This is particularly effective in creating the two homes – the bustling noisy crowded home to five girls in Wales and the echoing empty house in France where Raymond’s mother eats at a huge table in formal isolation. The scene when Raymond and Lilian try to sort things out while their baby cries relentlessly in the background is accurate and economical.
This is skilful story-telling that respects the power of the story without anyone having to show off. But there are some interesting performances, which are given time to develop. None are played to be likeable, but this means they feel true.
Amongst some rather odd Welsh accents (the company come from Greece, France, Spain and the Basque country), Fran Moulds’ Lillian is blunt and ungainly but sympathetic. Director Emily Watson Howes also acts as Nerys, motherly big sister, who she catches with a clear eye. Kate Mounce as Raymond’s mother creates a complete character mostly speaking in (un-translated) French. This makes the isolation that does for Lilian’s love all the more graphic.
The direction is neat and effective. The use of guitar and squeezebox to create a score, and the sound of a ship’s horn is typically economical and effective. Coming in at one hour this is a short but satisfying show, which doesn’t sacrifice truth for sentiment, or telling detail for spectacle.
Hannah/Chorus: Miren Alcala.
Caitlin/Chorus: Rosamond Martin.
Lilian: Fran Moulds.
Accordion/Mother: Kate Mounce.
Raymond: Roger Ribo.
Sarah/Guitar: Kylie Walsh.
Nerys/Chorus: Emily Watson Howes.
Director: Emily Watson Howes.