Not a lotty going on

lotty picture

Lotty's War

Malvern Theatres

***

I RECENTLY visited the sunny Channel isle of Guernsey and was mesmerised by its harrowing past as a Nazi occupied corner of Britain for five years during World War Two.

This play by Guernsey resident Giuliano Crispini tries to tell a small part of that experience through the eyes of young woman Lotty and her on-off local boyfriend Ben De Carteret from the moment the Germans invade and kill her father in a bombing raid.

What should be gripping, sadly turns out to be a very slow-burner with little action up to the interval and more Mills & Boon than wartime action as Lotty is forced to house the dashing, rugged but stern German General Rolf Bernberg.

Despite some very good acting by Mark Letheren (Silent Witness, Casualty and Rev Chris Skinner in EastEnders) as the German soldier and good support from Olivia Hallinan (Lark Rise to Candleford) as Lotty, the play is limited by its set and script.

There are only three characters and no scene changes, with all the action taking place in the kitchen of Lotty's house. When I say action, it's more polite conversation and makes it hard to imagine a war is raging around them until a brief shocking moment after the interval.

The other problem with the script is that it is hard to understand the characters motivation, particularly Lotty's.

We are expected to believe that a strong-minded woman, grieving for her father and angry at the Germans can suddenly fall for a man that doesn't show any particular kindness to the Guernsey people or hatred for the war. It's all a stretch too far and has a messy, uninspiring ending.

From my trip to Guernsey, I read about real life tales of encounters - both romantic and heroic - between the locals and Germans that were unforgettable. It's just a shame that this piece of fiction doesn't reflect that passion, bravery and emotional turmoil of what wartime Guernsey was really about. To 20-09-14

Alison Brinkworth

15-09-14 

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