Tuesday, June 04, 2013

'Blue Remembered Hills' by Dennis Potter

4 June 2013

I first saw Dennis Potter’s play ‘Blue Remembered Hills’ many years ago in an Edinburgh Fringe production at Greyfriars Kirkhouse. The central concept – using adults to play young children without disguising the fact they are obviously adults – works well as a device to explore the nature of childhood, memory and relationships. Appropriately enough, my distant memories of the play proved not entirely accurate when we saw the new Northern Stage production, directed by Psyche Scott, at Watford Palace Theatre last Saturday. In particular, while it was a very impressive production with some great acting, the piece felt much more slight than I remembered it. Written originally for television, it only lasts about an hour – perfect for the Edinburgh Fringe but a bit short played, without an interval, as the main attraction. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable and interesting experience with the actors’ mastery of childlike movement especially impressive. There is a ‘Lord of the Flies’ brutality to the children’s games and a dark ending to the story which echoes its wartime setting. And the distinctive Forest of Dean accents conjure up wonderful memories of ‘The Singing Detective’ (another example of the coma drama subgenre by the way).

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