Blitz! - The Union Theatre - ★★★★ - Until March 7, 2020

Photographer: Mark Senior.

It takes real talent and imagination to recreate the true feeling of the East End during WW II, and in Blitz! Phil Willmott (director) and his team work wonders; we really get the atmosphere and the cast combine to deliver an authentic feeling of community. Lionel Bart's show was originally a gigantic spectacle which overwhelmed the performers; here the reduction in scale is a mixed blessing as the banality of the script and score is exposed. This was hardly Bart's finest hour. However, there are some excellent aspects of this production, especially the Blitztein family's feisty, diminutive matriarch superbly played by Jessica Martin. She really carries the show, whilst Caitlin Anderson and Connor Carson are charming as the star-crossed young lovers. As the bombs fall, we swirl from an underground bomb shelter via a street market to a wedding, and we hardly have time to catch our breath. Racial tensions are treated rather simplistically, but the big moments work brilliantly. The community's indomitable resilience is perfectly encapsulated in the rumbustious "Who's This Geezer Hitler?" When produced as well as this, it is fitting that Blitz! is now revived to give us a taste of what life was like back then.

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until March 7, 2020
Tue - Sat: 7:30 pm
Sat & Sun: 2:30 pm (from Feb 15)
The Union Theatre
Nearest tube: Southwark
http://www.uniontheatre.biz/blitz.html

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