Carrie’s War, based on the popular novel by Nina Bawden, follows the story of three children, evacuated from their London homes to a sleepy Welsh town during the Second World War. The performance sees the evacuees struggle to adjust to their new lives; in particular Carrie and Nick who find lodging with the kind hearted Auntie Lou and her controlling, authoritarian brother, Mr. Evans. Things start to look up for Carrie and Nick when they make friends with a nearby household, but soon they find themselves caught up in family feuds, realising that the war’s not just happening in mainland Europe.
As soon as the curtains rose at Richmond Theatre I was captivated. The spooky set immediately creates a thrilling atmosphere; the stone staircase; the unkempt shrubbery and the ghostly figure that stood silent upon the mezzanine. This set the scene for an epic story, which quickly started by introducing the evacuees as they departed London. From that point on the story beautifully unfolded with a continuing series of dramatic events that built upon the growing mystery of the piece.
Not only does the plot create suspense and tension at every turn; it also oozes with Welsh culture and deeply engaging characters, giving the production a real colourful flair. Everyone now and then the audience is treated to a chorus of traditional song, or a quick burst of conversation in Welsh between Mr Evans and Aunt Lou.
All these points add up to a good performance, but what makes Carrie’s War great is the individual performances. James Byng gives his character, Nick, boyish charm and mischief; Siôn Tudor Owen makes Mr. Evans the hateable old miser that he is and Sarah Edwardson breathes life into the entire production with her portrayal of Carrie Willow. This is just to name a few, but truthfully the entire cast are marvellous and the entire piece has been put together brilliantly.
For light hearted melodrama I can’t recommend Carrie’s War enough. It’s clever, imaginative and worth every penny of the ticket price. You’d be lucky to find much on in the West End of this quality, and you’d be even luckier to find anything for the same price.
Carries War is playing at the Richmond Theatre until 23rd October. Book via their website here.