Writer: Giuliano Crispini
Director: Bruce Guthrie
Reviewer: Steve Turner
Set on Guernsey during the German occupation, Crispini’s Lotty’s War tells the tale of the wartime experiences of Lotty, a 17 year old local girl, Ben, Lotty’s English boyfriend, and Rolf the German general who chooses Lotty’s house as his accommodation for the duration of the occupation.
Exploring the effect of conflict on human emotions and conscience we witness the changes in each of the three characters as the war develops in the favour of the Germans before ultimately Britain and her allies triumph.
Olivia Hallinan portrays Lotty with much sympathy, giving a convincing performance as a girl suddenly forced to face life on her own after the death of her father. However, before she is even used to this idea a German general comes to take over the house and decides to keep her on as his housekeeper. Gradually she begins to warm to the unwelcome guest as they face the common problems of hunger and isolation. Lotty finds herself increasingly ostracised by her fellow islanders owing to her burgeoning relationship with the General.
Mark Letheren, as General Rolf Bernberg, keeps his character the right side of parody, and while there is much that we recognise in the cold, ruthless yet charming persona of Rolf he still manages to surprise us with his actions and revelations about himself.
Ben, the rejected boyfriend of Lotty, is played with conviction by Adam Gillen, however his is the weakest character of the three. With lines that are rather clichéd and a delivery that was at times a little shrill, he is the hardest of all three to warm to.
The direction throughout is quite crisp and uses some interesting repetitive scenes to convey the passage which manage to add some humour into what could become quite a grim tale.
The performers certainly had the audience gripped throughout, drawing gasps of disapproval at the beginning of Act 2 when we see how the relationship between Lotty and Rolf has progressed. Rolf’s later actions and revelations also bring audible responses from the audience proving that their attention has been held right until the end when Lotty is forced to make her final choice.
Well written and performed and played out on a well-designed set this is a most enjoyable evening.
Runs until 13th September