By Terence Rattigan
Directed by Nicki Pope
The play is set in a hotel on the Lincolnshire coast during the Second World War, men from nearby airbase are planning to spend the weekend there with their wives.
Patricia Graham is an actress from London, she has something to tell her husband Teddy who is a bomber pilot. The situation is complicated when Peter Kyle, a Hollywood film star arrives at the hotel, and Teddy is sent out on a dangerous night raid over Germany. Patricia is torn between a rekindled old flame and loyalty to her war hero husband.
Teddy’s tail Gunner – Dusty Miller (not to be confused with his uncle – Windy Miller), is awaiting his wife Maudie, who is late. Maudie only has a short time off from the laundry where she has had to work since the war began. She was bombed out of their home in the Blitz, but she says matter-of-factly:
…there’s a war on, and things have got to be a bit different, and we’ve just got to get used to it – that’s all.
Doris waits for her husband Count Skriczevinsky, a Polish pilot serving with the RAF. His wife and son were killed by the Nazis, and he came to Britain, despite his poor command of the English language, to join the war against Germany. Doris met him while working as a barmaid, and though she is now his Countess, she worries about what will happen when the war is over and he is able to return to Poland.
Also present at the hotel are the proprietor, Mrs. Oakes; Percy, a young waiter who is interested in RAF operations; and an airman named Corporal Wiggy Jones (a very small walk on part).
Soon after everyone has arrived, Squadron Leader Swanson summons the men back to base for an unscheduled night operation, and their wives are left behind to await their return. Swanson, who is affectionately called Gloria by Teddy, remains at the hotel. As Patricia and Swanson look out at the flare path from the hotel window, one of the planes is destroyed on take-off by the Luftwaffe – Which plane is it?
Superb – a three handkerchief weepie that somehow manages to be profoundly moving and wonderfully funny
A tribute to the collective spirit of wartime bomber crews and their partners
A deeply moving portrait of people at war
A shattering ensemble work in which every detail glows with truth, compassion and humanity, and where every seemingly ordinary second of life in an existence hemmed in by the ever-present threat of death is charged with humanity
7 Men and 4 Women – Don’t be put off by ages, it is more about the pairing of partners
- Doris, Countess Skriczenvinsky
- (Sheridan Smith won an Olivier for this part) 20’s 30’s – a character part – in the script described as prone to being heavy… must have spirit and a glint in her eye, she has overcome a lot! Has some great speeches
- Peter Kyle
- Hollywood actor but English – tall, smooth, sexy, well spoken – think Cary Grant, Lawrence Olivier – playing age, any I am thinking 40 – 50ish
- Patricia Graham
- Actress – smaller parts, not a leading lady, but still well known. Attractive, well spoken, and confused – in love with two men. Playing age 20’s to 40’s to match Teddy Graham. (Sienna Miller played this part in the West End)
- Mrs Oakes
- The proprietor – grumpy, old / middle age – great character part. Totally loyal to the servicemen
- Sergeant Dusty Miller
- Tail Gunner – working class – brave 20’s – 40’s
- Young – too young or perhaps ill to go to war 16 / 17 – good comedy part, he isn’t the full shilling, he works behind the bar
- Count Skriczenvinsky
- Polish Count service with the RAF – very limited English – heroic, handsome has to be able to pull off a Polish accent! Playing age 30s to 50s – has to match Doris
- Flight Lieutenant Teddy Graham
- War hero – dashing, well-spoken RP English – playing age 30 / 40ish – has to match Patricia
- Maudie Miller
- Duty’s wife – working class, hardworking, honest and tough! 20’s to 40’s to match Dusty
- Squadron Leader Swanson
- Upper Class – older – RP – 50 plus
- Corporal Wiggy Jones
- Very small walk on part
At rehearsals we will block the play together – and explore characters and relationships with each other. Hopefully they will be fun – and we’ll all work together as a team!
Any questions – please get in touch:
Nicki Pope |