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Stage Dragon: One Night In November At The Electric Theatre

Published on: 17 Nov, 2017
Updated on: 19 Nov, 2017

by Tricia Marcotti

The Electric Theatre is presenting a play by Alan Pollock called One Night in November and staged by the Guildburys Theatre Company this week until Saturday, November 18.

This is a poignant tale of love and duty in war-torn Britain. Set in Coventry in November 1940, young lovers Katie (Sarah Martin) and Michael (James Martin) are looking forward to celebrating Katie’s birthday with her family.

Unbeknown to Katie, Michael has a secret job at the code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park. Both Sarah and James provided us with a fresh view of new love.

Katie and Michael meeting for the first time

Katie and Michael meeting for the first time in One Night In November.

It is the job which sets the scene for all the problems which Michael faces throughout the play. Upon meeting Katie’s family, I could understand his hesitancy in trying to answer their questions.

Katie’s father Jack (Jonathan Arundel) is a union man but he loves his family. Katie’s mother Meg (Barbara Tresidder) wants the best for her family. And Katie’s sister Joan (Ally Murphy) is, well, a sister and we all know how sisters can behave!

Katie and Joan discussing their lives

Katie and Joan discussing their lives.

Michael, however, also has to fend off questions from his work mate Sheila (Cheryl Malam). This does prove to be difficult as he becomes more and more torn between duty and his love for Katie.

Obviously, from the title, and because we have history to tell us too, we know that the play is leading to the bombing of Coventry during the full moon in November 1940.

Sheila and Michael discussing the message over tea

Sheila and Michael discussing the message over tea.

I did not think that bombing could be easily staged, but I felt that the audience was an active participant in that horrible night. You could feel the percussive blasts, hear the noise (decibels were not spared), and see the effects on the actors.

With skilful use of lighting, the set designer has been able to include two sets on one stage.

My only niggle about the set was that the audience in the middle of the theatre could see everything, but those at the sides have a restricted view of the edge of the set.

The sound effects and backdrop projection were very effective, giving the audience both visual information and pictures from the time while letting them hear the sounds that complimented the production.

The costuming reminded me of old photos that my mother showed me that had been taken in the 1940s, so well done to the costumiers.

This production is different in temperament from the other plays I have seen the Guildburys Theatre Company perform, but they kept my attention during the whole performance.

One Night in November is on at the Electric Theatre in Guildford up to Saturday evening, November 18. Book tickets by clicking here or by calling  01483 444789.

 

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