The Tattershall Castle, Review

Local writer Catherine Derrick launched her latest production The Tattershall Castle at Kardomah 94 this evening.

The story mainly revolves around two sweethearts Jean Brown and James Palmer who are torn apart by the outbreak of World War 2 which causes the young man to go off and fight in the RAF.

The young couple stay in touch by sending letters but then disaster strikes as Jean’s house is bombed in the blitz and flattened, rendering Jean and her mum homeless which ultimately leads to them moving to stay with Jean’s nan in Pickering away from the bombing.

At the other end is James, love lorn and pining for Jean, upon seeing what’s left of her house when he returns on leave from Biggin Hill and the desperate fight in the sky James believes Jean has been killed in the blitz.

In the middle is James’ father, an unscrupulous, hard, wealthy man who believes Jean is nowhere near good enough for his son and heir apparent, who lies to both Jean, telling her he will pass on her new address to James so he can write to her, and James by confirming his worst fears saying Jean was killed by a bomb on Hessle Road.

You are immediately drawn in at the start as singer Carolyne Storey sings a wartime medley to set the tone as we are swept back to wartime Hull.

The early scenes with Jean, played by the thoroughly compelling Sarah Hicks, and James, played by the engaging Jack Holt, are well choreographed and get you hoping and wishing for the young couple.

Mrs Brown, played by Jackie Rogers, is another very likable character and the scene of the bombing when their house is hit is very well acted by both Hicks and Rogers as the desperation and panic of the blitz is brought to life with their actions, facial expressions and speech.

James’ father Mr Palmer, played by Anthony Musgrave, is a very well acted lowlife who clearly only cares about his bank balance and isn’t bothered whoever he upsets, including his own flesh and blood. He is so horrible that he draws boos from the audience when they see him on stage.

Jean’s brother Tommy, who is portrayed by David Dale, is another very believable character who clearly cares very deeply for his sister, his part is very well pitched so when he almost comes to blows with James later, believing James had dumped Jean for another woman, there is no question that his character would react like he does.

The barmaid from The Minerva, James’ favourite watering hole, is the character played by Lynda Harrison who gives the whole production a genuine element of fun as it moves into the 1960s.

The cast is completed by Chrissy, played by Catherine Rose Senior, she is Jean’s daughter and, in a beautifully subtle sideline, is the one who ultimately brings Jean and James back together after James’ father and Jean’s husband have died.

There is of course a twist at the end that you absolutely don’t see coming in a masterful piece of writing by the writer/director.

It is a very good production, well written, well acted and well directed.

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