A rolling bank of grass and a few choice gobbets of Dennis Potter’s Forest of Dean vernacular is all it takes to fully immerse the audience in the countryside wartime setting of Blue Remembered Hills.
The running, tumbling, aeroplaning cast – all adults playing the roles of children not yet ten year’s old – are totally convincing in their roles and it’s to their credit, and director Psyche Stott’s, that this production of Blue Remembered Hills is so strong.
The technical skills to faithfully portray the shifting loyalties and rivalries of childhood, the blink-of-an-eye hatreds, the learned behaviour, the familial make-believe and the casual, vicious cruelties of youth must be demanding, all the while juggling a tricky accent and windmilling about the stage.
This ensemble cast is more than capable; each one delivers a note-perfect performance that the artifice of the whole production is never apparent.
Potter’s source material is excellent of course and amounts to one of his most perfectly-formed works. There’s not the sprawling genre-bending of The Singing Detective or the spontaneous musical numbers that litter his later works, but Blue Remembered Hills is a perfectly-formed exploration of the vicissitudes of the fragile, brutal, spiteful and tender dynamics of childhood.
This new production captures it all so perfectly you can practically feel the sun on your face, the whiff of grass and the wonders, excitements and terrors of it all.
Blue Remembered Hills
Until 18 May