Playtime ends in tears in the 'land of lost content'
CONGLETON Players' first production of 2012 comes with a warning that audiences may find some scenes upsetting.
Which might seem odd considering it's a play about children portrayed by adults.
Surely, the idea of grown-ups dressing up as kids is an essentially comic one.
But there is, of course, a decidedly dark side to Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
First seen on TV in the BBC's celebrated Play For Today slot, the drama is inevitably likened to William Golding's Lord Of The Flies. That's because Potter's play and Golding's novel explore the more disturbing capabilities of children at play.
"Potter examines the darker aspects of children's innocence and imagination," says the Players' Brenda Conway.
"He creates an altogether more complex and ambivalent picture of the 'land of lost content' in the AE Houseman poem that gives the play its title."
Blue Remembered Hills is about a group of seven-year-olds playing in the Forest Of Dean on a summer's afternoon in 1943.
"With no adults around, they engage in spontaneous games and horseplay," says Brenda.
"Sometimes, their play in the hills fields and forest of the West Country has echoes of distant conflict – it's 1943 and the Second world War is raging in Europe and beyond.
"But at other times, the children's behaviour reveals their own insecurities and petty vindictiveness.
"As they tease, fantasise and fight the day away, however, their innocence is about to be destroyed forever."
It's the relentless taunting of one of the boys, a lad whose father is a prisoner of the Japanese, that finally brings a tragic conclusion to a carefree afternoon.
Directed by Simon Matthews, the play features David Parry as Willie, Nigel Evans as Peter, Ryan Jones as John, Hilary Warr/James Peake as Raymond, Chris Sheard as Donald, Dee Melia as Angela and Vicki Lee as Audrey.
As Brenda Conway says, Blue Remembered Hills is at first sight a frivolous piece of entertainment, but finally reflects human capability for brutality, which is why audiences have been advised that some scenes may be disturbing.
Blue Remembered Hills is at The Daneside Theatre, Park road, Congleton, from February 7 to 11 at 7.30pm. Tel 01260 271095.