For the Love of Willie
Agnes Owens adapted by Phil Tong
The City of London Freemen's School
The Quaker's Meeting House
From 13 August 2012 to 18 August 2012
Review by Robin Strapp
The City of London Freemen’s School has been performing at the Fringe for over a decade and they consistently produce quality work; this year is no exception.
For the Love of Willie, based on Agnes Owens’s novel and adapted and directed by Phil Tong, is a moving story about Peggy (Abby Hampden) in her old age living the remaining years of her life in Edith Dementia Ward in the local hospital.
She has decided to write a novel based on her life experiences, and, in a series of flashbacks, we learn about her youth in the 1940s and the life in the hospital with her friend Violet (Lorna McKellar), the Duchess.
The transitions between the present day and the past are cleverly achieved and the gifted cast performs with confidence creating totally believable characters.
We learn that young Peggy, superbly played by Laura Douglas, takes on a job as a paperboy in the local shop where she meets Boris and a strained friendship develops.
Life was tough for Peggy. She suffered many tragedies: her grandfather died in a mining accident and her father left working in the factory to become an ARP only to die during a bombing raid.
Her mother, strongly portrayed by Claire Mengham, is left to bring up the young Peggy who has taken a job in a shop working for Willie Roper (James Cole Ezen) who is totally besotted with Peggy and is determined to seduce her, with catastrophic and shocking consequences.
This young company give impressive performances in an emotional and heartrending play.