BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS
WINNER: NODA Best Regional Drama 2007
Summer, 1943. World War Two fighter planes battle to control the skies over England. Meanwhile, in the countryside below, a group of children laugh, cry, tease and bully the afternoon away. It's much like any afternoon in fact. But on this particular day, their make-believe world is about to change forever. This ground breaking drama received critical acclaim when first performed and is one of Potter's best known and best loved plays.
Cast and Creative Team
Raymond | Phil Simcox
Audrey | Sandy Lane
Willie | Kim Harris
Angela | Julia Allsop
Donald | Chris Kemp
Peter | Ben Lawrence
John | Paul Wilson
Director | Barry Taylor
Designer | Kim Harris
Set Design / Build | Fourblokes
Lighting Design | Geoff Harcula
Sound Design | Barry Taylor
Website Design | Paul Wilson
Sound Operators | Tom Clay & Joe Burton
Photography | Sarah Lawrence
Stage Manager | Lucy Heath
FOH Manager | Mandy Fogg
"...one of Derby's theatrical gems..."
FOURBLOKES Theatre Company is one of Derby’s theatrical gems.
They don’t do a lot, but their motto must surely be quality rather than quantity.
Here they are back in the Guildhall Theatre with Dennis Potter’s former TV play for Today.
The title of the piece comes from A.E. Housman’s 1896 poem: “Into my heart an air that kills: from yon far country blows: what are those blue remembered hills …”
Lesson over. We’re transported to a sunny, summer afternoon in 1943, where seven children play in the hills, fields and forests of the West Country.
They encounter no adults, and their activities are scattershot in spontaneous, unpredictable directions, with small cruelties and games that echo the distant war.
It was always Potter’s intention that the children should be played by adults, not an easy thing to carry off, but here it’s faultlessly accomplished.
From the emotionally disturbed and put-upon outcast Donald (Chris Kemp), through the stuttering awkwardness of Raymond (Phil Simmcox), via the on-off friendship of John (Paul Wilson), Peter (Ben Lawrence) and Willie (Kim Harris) and the tomboyish Audrey and Angela (Sandy Lane and Julia Alsop), the audience easily forgets that they’re watching adults.
It’s an impressive set that the group have put together as well, with the final denouement in a fire raged-barn excellently recognised.
For the first night performance, the small theatre was packed with school children, always hard critics, but it is to this troupe’s credit that the audience sat in silence.
Director Barry Taylor has said that this play was their “tricky third album.”
However, having put together a show as good as this. I predict a long and prosperous future for not just the four blokes but whoever they get to join them.
Entertaining and thought provoking – try to catch it if you can.