Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Everyone was gripped by the production's movement and narrative drive.

Wave Me Goodbye

Theatr Clwyd , Theatr Clwyd , May-01-19
Wave Me Goodbye  by Theatr Clwyd Wave Me Goodbye by Jacqueline Wilson adapted by Emma Reeves
Theatr Clwyd until 4th May.

It's September 1939, the beginning of the phony war, and ten year old Shirley is suddenly sent away from her city home for a "little holiday" in the country. The country is a new one, North Wales, and all the people surrounding her are strangers. Even the house she is sent to, The Red House with its unfriendly housekeeper and reclusive Mrs Waverley, seems strange.

But soon an inquisitive girl like Shirley and her two fellow evacuees, boys from London, penetrate the secrets surrounding them.

Christian Patterson's lively direction, making great use of a revolve, keeps the narrative on the move. I sat amid a theatre full of young Jacqueline Wilson readers, and their mums, and everyone was gripped by the production's movement and narrative drive.

The design is made up of large versions of the boxes Shirley uses to make dolls houses. And talking of dolls houses, there's a magical moment when we see full size the one that Shirley had just found in the Red House.

There is imagination galore right through the production, cute rabbits popping up, a sinister lorry, a dolls house inhabitant being played with and broken.

There is a haunting music score, composed by and performed on stage by Luke Potter. Courtney George is as perfect a Shirley as you could hope to find. Sean Jones plays both her fellow evacuees, well one of them is a puppet. Victoria John is splendidly contrasted as both Shirley's Mum and the housekeeper. Kerry Peers is quite Miss Havisham like as Mrs Waverley. Sam C Wilson is kept busy bringing a wide variety of roles to life.

This charming, gritty and delightful production deserves a much longer run and adult theatre goers ought to be given a chance to experience what young Jacqueline Wilson admirers are currently enjoying.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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