Carrie’s War: Authentic wartime play appealed to all ages

Denys Edwards Players present Carrie's War  at the Sheffield Crucible Studio from 13th to 17th August at 7.15 with a matinee on Saturday 17th at 2.15pm'Evacuees Carrie (Juliet Ibberson) and her brother Nick (Thomas Ferris) anxiously wait to see if someone will give them a home.
Denys Edwards Players present Carrie's War at the Sheffield Crucible Studio from 13th to 17th August at 7.15 with a matinee on Saturday 17th at 2.15pm'Evacuees Carrie (Juliet Ibberson) and her brother Nick (Thomas Ferris) anxiously wait to see if someone will give them a home.

When I heard that one of my favourite childhood stories had been adapted for the stage, I could not resist a trip down memory lane.

Nina Bawden’s classic wartime story Carrie’s War was adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves and brought to the Crucible Studio Theatre by Sheffield group the Denys Edwards Players.

The story is set during the Second World War and follows Carrie Willow and her brother Nick who are evacuated to the Welsh countryside.

Here they live with the mean and strict Mr Evans and his kind sister, Auntie Lou.

They embark on various adventures, meeting an array of new friends along the way, also learning the kindness of strangers.

The audience was immediately taken by the two main children, played by Juliet Ibberson and Thomas Ferris.

The sibling bond they so skillfully portrayed encompassed boisterous banter and playful joke poking, but also more tender moments.

We were reminded of what a wrench it was for evacuees, torn away from their parents and forced to live with strangers in unfamiliar places.

Juliet, as Carrie, played the older sister role perfectly - with just the right mix of bossiness and love.

Little Thomas, as Nick, had the audience howling with laughter. His impish portrayal of a cheeky little lad testing the water away from home was infused with humour.

The adult parts were also acted with astounding accuracy and skill. They had learned authentic Welsh accents, and some lines were even delivered in the complex Celtic language.

A simple set was used effectively to depict scenes in kitchens, sitting rooms, bedrooms, courtyards, countryside and even a train carriage.

Props and costumes gave the play an authentic 1940s feel, with much care and time taken sourcing them.

The audience age ranged from eight to 80-odd, and everyone seemed to enjoy Carrie’s War. I certainly did. And I hope the story remains on young people’s book shelves for many years to come.

By Hayley Gallimore