Challenging roles are childs play for Kismet

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KISMET Theatre Company put on another outstanding performance at Gainsborough’s Queen Elizabeth’s High School.

In their latest offering, Kismet transports us to 1943 and the Forest of Dean, where we find a group of seven-year-olds playing in the rural West Country setting of Dennis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills.

The children are played by adults, the exact challenge Potter prescribed in his 1979 TV play.

Kismet’s stage adaptation, directed by Kerry Greenwood, makes use of lighting and a cleverly designed set to ensure rapid and smooth scene transition.

First sight of a group of adults dressed as 1940s school children gains a round of panto-worthy laughter but we quickly forget the actors’ ages and see only a group of children, expertly portrayed in the naivety, egocentricity and cruelty typical of seven-year-olds.

As the story unfolds, we meet Potter’s child characters at their best and, ultimately, their worst.

The cast create a convincing group of children, from the pocket-sized aircraft attack of the exuberant Willie (Barry Evans), the power hungry Peter (Jonty Fotheringham), challenged by John (Frederick Otter), to the gentle Raymond (Steven Pikett), the bossy Angela (Dawn Horrey), her irate friend Audrey (Ann Otter) and the sensitive and tragic Donald (Michael Hatfield).

We see them tumble, scratch, fidget, stamp and pout with uninhibited abandon, and we truly are witnessing children, not adults.

Apart from Potter’s brilliant script, the demeanour of the performers clearly shows where each character fits in terms of pecking order and group dynamics.

Blue Remembered Hills is perfect material for Kismet, never shy of a challenge and endlessly innovative in finding solutions.

This local theatre company delivered a highly professional and thoroughly enjoyable performance. More please...

By Marian Harrison