Sunday, September 04, 2011

Three Days in May

My response to the rather unappreciative review you can read by clicking on the title of this play we saw at Richmond Theatre prior to a West End run.


Your reviewer seems unmoved by a play which left me proud to be English, an uplifting experience. I knew Churchill did not relate this history but Roy Jenkins does in his biography. Colville seemed a very youthful senior civil servant but it fact he was only 25 at the time. The play seems historically accurate apart from the details of Colville in the RAF, an earlier and longer period than portrayed. I agree this is not top notch theatre technically but if it does not grip you, you lack either a sense of history or patriotism or both. The crucial nature of the time and decision are well communicated and summed up in the closing quote from Stalin. World history was at stake here.The odds against our survival seem overwhelming but Churchill backed the outsider which won once the Americans left their isolationism thanks to the Japanese. The miracle of Dunkirk is well portrayed though it would have been fitting to link it as a response to the opening scene of the National Day of Prayer.

Simon Ward was not playing Chamberlain in our performance but his understudy gave a fine portrayal of a man with regrets who at this point redeems himself.

I had wondered if we would have the aroma of Havanas or had the health fascists succeeded where the Nazis failed and defeated Churchill. We had cigars, pipe and cigarettes but were they for real? In the second row I detected no sweet aroma and of the three cabinet members smoking only one seemed to have enthusiasm for tobacco or whatever they were puffing. Atlee had one mere puff of his pipe and Churchill went a long time with no cigar, smoking it little when he had his trade mark accessory.

Clarke was a convincing Churchill but no impressionist. In fact he seemed more Dalziel than Winnie to me in terms of character. Halifax seemed to be from a different social class but in reality Churchill was from the higher aristocracy.

I went to this because I like Clarke as Dalziel and I love history. I came out of the theatre a prouder Englishman, thankful to God for a miraculous deliverance from tyranny.

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