Fringe Box



Review: Lilies On The Land, Electric Theatre

Published on: 7 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 7 Nov, 2015

Voices of those who were in the Womens Land Army during the Second World War were vividly brought to life by Merrow Dramatic Society in their production of Lilies On The Land at the Electric Theatre this week.

The play is based on letters and anecdotes of real land army girls collected and dramatised by The Lions Part. The story features four women who sign up to become land girls to help the war effort.

Land girls

Land girls: Poppy, Margie, Peggy and Vera. Pictures by Peter Sillick.

Majella Yorston plays Margie, Vera, by Cheryl Malam, Peggy, by Mandy Greali, and Poppy, by Christine Sidall. Each of them bring to life in a most beautiful and poignant way stories of young girls who left their families and went to work on farms with few of the home confortant they had previously known.

They talk about the hardships of farming life, learning new skills (such as driving tractors and hand-milking cows), the pressures of war with bombs falling, unfamiliar surroundings, and also the fun and laughter they had.

The play actually begins in 1965, at the death of Sir Winston Churchill, and the four woman looking back on their wartime experiences.

The audience is soon transformed to 1939, when the girls signed up and were given their work clothing. What follows are the experiences of the four girls (all from different backgrounds) and all experiencing things they would never had imaged.

Ian Cresse plays the role of ‘menfolk’, acting out a number of roles including that of the farmer who doubts the girls’ abilities to grasp the work in had, and also a newly found boyfriend of one of them.

The singers.

The singers.

There is music from the period too – with not only land girls’ songs but other popular tunes from the Second World War. Adding their lovely harmony vocals to these were Elizabeth Loveder, Becky Van Orden, and Jenny Pegman.

The depth and insight into the varied work done by the Womens’s Land Army, and also the Women’s Timber Corps, is all to see.

There are some moments of humour, often linked to the good times that prevailed – the dances and getting a bit tipsy, being examples.

Yet the production pulls no punches, and a particularly moving scene includes some memories of abuse that some girls received (including that of a sexual nature) by male agricultural workers or farmers, and in one case of a distressed and homesick Italian prisoner of war who was a member of a work party.

The play was expertly directed by Amy Yorston, whose mum Marjella (Margie in the cast), also produced.

The full cast of Lillies On The Land and their pianist.

The full cast of Lillies On The Land and their pianist.

Tickets are available for Saturday’s matinee and evening performance (November 7). It is well worth seeing.

In the foyer there is a display of photographs of local land girls and local wartime memorabilia, which completments the play perfectly.

Electric Theatre box office: 01483 444789.


Share This Post

Responses to Review: Lilies On The Land, Electric Theatre

  1. Mike Melbourne Reply

    November 8, 2015 at 10:10 am

    I attended the Thursday evening performance along with a few friends. Several scenes had no props but the performers got the message across to the audience professionally.

    The singers and pianist were excellent. A most enjoyable evening.

    I look forward to supporting the drama groups at the Electric Theatre again.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *