Those Were The Days!

We’ll Meet Again.

Walker Theatre T7 (matinee)

7th April 2016

 

Well if you are a nostalgic sort of a person. This is the show for you. “We’ll meet again,” is an amble down memory lane with something for everyone.

Comprising of two musicians, both highly qualified in their given trade. This was proven as as they delivered  faultless backing for all that was going to be happening.

The Musical Director tinkled away on a multi-layered keyboard, providing all sorts of synthesised instruments as well as the basic melodies, he was joined by a drummer and between the two of them they played the music of twenty! Both excellent at what they did ,they played faultlessly for the whole of the two hours that the show ran.

However the five singers. also had two instrumentalists in their ranks and the George Formby set on the Ukelele was great and breathed new life into the songs that everyone loved and knew so well.The 'omage to Stephen Grapelli was fantastic too. 

As it was a tribute to British Forces their was a lot of WW2 references and the cast started and finished in the uniforms of the British  Services.  That set the mood, and as they led the audience in Land Of Hope And Glory it became obvious that no-one other than the cast knew the words, but that wasn’t going to stop anyone…Heck no, If anything it strengthened their resolve to la la to the end.

There was of course tributes to, Gracie Fields, Al Bowly, Tessie O’Shea and naturally Vera Lynn. I defy anyone not to tingle when they hear the song We’ll Meet Again; knowing what we know now; that song is even more poignant and it was a poignancy handled  by the beautiful voice of Maggie O’Hara.

The Comedy routine was dated and really not that funny. The jokes were old and in the modern 21st century one can’t help but be aware of how racism is received whether it be outright insulting or slightly more subliminal, it is always dangerous ground. Even if the show is  for a more senior audience they aren’t too happy with racism either.

So the comedy song,  In De Fuehrer’s Face, (originally a Spike Jones hit and then a Donald Duck short;)  delivered in a fake pantomimic German accent by a man dressed as Hitler may be considered (innocent) racism. However to put on a fake Chinese accent and make jokes about oriental names is more blatant and even though those jokes may have been funny in the war, they are now as funny as all the other horrors that make us think of that terrible time. Best left in tha past!

Comedy interlude notwithstanding this was a warm and friendly show. People felt happy to sing  the songs out loud and there is something warming about singing in a crowd. Some audience members knew the songs from the originals and everyone else seemed to have learned the songs by osmosis, over time. Consequently, everyone sang along.

Nostalgia is a funny old beast really. To have any living memory of the war one would have to be at least 80 but today we were all reflecting on a time we really only know through books and films. Yet the audience stood shoulder to shoulder with the octogenarians and shared the warmth that nostalgia gives us all. Hard to tell where memory ends and nostalgia sets in.

This is a three star review.

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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