Eastern Angles mount some private resistance

Private Resistance by Ivan Cutting, Eastern Angles, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, February 15, touring until May 20 2012

Loss of freedom is a terrible thing and to have family and friends shot or tortured in reprisal for resistance in England’s green and pleasant land, i.e. Suffolk, is unthinkable.

So what would it have been like if there had been no Battle of Britain in 1940 and ‘Jerry’ had invaded? Ivan Cutting’s new play Private Resistance explores the possibilities through the eyes of an eclectic group of ordinary people forced to choose between having to defend their freedom, whatever the cost, or compromising long-held principles by collaborating.

Diane (Frances Marshall) is in two minds and has to contain the youthful, foolhardy enthusiasm of her nephew Wilf (Fred Lancaster). ATS girl Prue (Bishanyia Vincent) is Diane’s lodger but they take different views on the situation.

Act 1 sees much frenetic criss-crossing of the stage as news of the invasion is confirmed and panic sets in. Gamekeeper Frank (the first of two roles for Phil Pritchard) is not prone to panicking even when recruited by Tom (Matt Addis) to head up a guerrilla force operating out of an underground bunker. The characters settle into their roles of resistance, some paying the price and others escaping.

In Act 2 we see Diane and Alan (Phil Pritchard’s Communist sympathiser from Up North) in an intense and moving exchange that gave depth and meaning to the whole.

Designer Fabrice Serafino’s bunker was a delight and effectively changed the stage perspective by propitious lighting. The bunker scenes were among the best of the night. Much of early dialogue was inaudible although it was not clear if the fault lay with the acoustics or the direction. The frantic comings and goings of the first act frequently turned inwards, excluding the audience. But this was opening night so there is plenty of time to iron out the wrinkles.

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Carol Twinch