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Blackmore Players get A Letter from the General

PUBLISHED: 14:04 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 13:14 11 August 2010

A THEATRICAL group not known for ducking contentious issues are taking on one of the darker and more challenging productions in the field of stage writing in two weeks. Blackmore Players will be performing Maurice McLoughlin s A Letter From The General ,

A THEATRICAL group not known for ducking contentious issues are taking on one of the darker and more challenging productions in the field of stage writing in two weeks.

Blackmore Players will be performing Maurice McLoughlin's 'A Letter From The General', one of the more popular plays for local societies, but also one of the most difficult.

Directed by Ian Lodge and set in an 'Eastern Country' in the early 1950s, the story is of a communist regime taking over a poverty stricken country and launching into a programme of religious persecution.

Western nuns and priests are the target of the communists who set about annihilating the missions and occupants.

The focus of the story is one such, an isolated mission of five nuns and a priest who tend the local population, caring for the weak and sick as well as running a mission school for children orphaned by war.

The play is challenging in the levels of emotion required to convey the despair of the victims, but significantly added to when the priest is arrested for spying and the subsequent hunt when he escapes.

Enter the evil element in the form of a psychotic English soldier, captured by the communists and recruited in their army, who leads the search for the priest.

Blackmore Players have a rich pool of experienced and commanding actors and are noted for putting on three productions a year, so it is no surprise to see actors who previously performed as pantomime dames, heroes and villains adopting the mantel of despair and determination in complete reversal of their usual roles.

One such is Keith Goody, noted for his hilarious pantomime antics as dame and ugly sister, who achieves a complete reversal as the persecuted and tortured priest, Fr. Schiller.

Gina Daldry, Glynis Young, Sharon Free, Gail Hughes and Ann Doherty, respectively as Mother Superior, Sister Henry, Sister Bridget, Sister Lucy and Sister Magdalene, equally challenging as a group of women bound by obedience who rise to the challenge of the evil regime, alongside Phil Davis and Julie Cohen as the British Consul and his wife.

Like all good writing, there is a totally unexpected twist as the actors gently build up the tension.

Not a happy ending by any means, but a piece equally challenging for players and audience alike.

The play runs for two performances on Friday and Saturday, October 2 & 3 at the Blackmore Village Hall complex, Nine Ashes Road, Blackmore, just north of neighbouring Brentwood.

Tickets are only £7.50 for each performance at 8pm and available from the box office on 01277 372386.


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