Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Blonde Bombshells of 1943

Written by Alan Platter
Produced by Hampstead Theatre and The Octagon, Bolton
Royal & Derngate Northampton and touring
(2009)

Production photo

A fun filled light hearted night out can be had at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, as the Blonde Bombshells explode on the stage, to bring 1943 racing into the 21st century.

The songs are a mix of the more well known, and those perhaps not completely on the list of 'war time favourites' and this is perhaps the first strength of this performance. You are entertained and can hum along to 'Don't sit underneath the apple tree', but also have some insight into something perhaps more authentic.

Although the authenticity of the script and the characters themselves are slightly questionable, this is not too important. It is the music that matters and it delivers in every way - if it is war time music that you want to hear, I would highly recommend this show.

Written by Alan Platter, this is a theatrical version of the television programme, yet it is a format that seems to work well for theatre. Howard Gray's excellent musical direction and arrangements deserve credit, as does Libby Watson for her well judged costume design.

The cast all played their own instruments and sang beautifully, the music was faultless. It is a hard working ensemble, and the retelling of the story is interesting and at times, touching.

The audience, mainly of the age that would expect this performance to be targeted at, seemed to relish in the performance, laughing at the old George Formby songs and enjoying the sweeter lullabies and love songs.

There was a particular sadness about the reminiscence, yet with this comes a joyful remembrance and reflection - the audience seemed moved and happy with what they had seen.

This is more than just a concert of songs, it is a war time story that succeeds in taking you back to the swinging 1940's and escaping the shaky 2000's for an evening.

"Blonde Bombshells of 1943" plays at Royal & Derngate until Satuday 31st January 2009

Sheila Connor reviewed this production in Guildford

Reviewer: John Johnson