"Blue Remembered Hills"
Park Bridge, Ashton under Lyne
Heaton Park, Manchester
Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury
July - August 2000
By Dennis Potter
An open-air production directed by Caroline Clegg
NOMINATED FOR A MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS AWARD 2001
Feelgood are renowned for their exciting site-specific productions and Dennis Potter’s most popular TV classic was brought vividly to life in the summer of 2000. The production was a raw and thrilling, intimate walk about show. The audience entering the child’s world of 1942, sitting close to and moving with the action enjoying an evening of immediate, first class theatre.
For Potter, growing up among his contemporaries had meant suffering abuse, humiliation and deceitful girls, a life he re-visited often in his plays, notably in Blue Remembered Hills. The land of lost content for him was a distinctly unhappy experience and thus Blue Remembered Hills is no rosy-spectacled view of childhood.
Set in the countryside during the Second World War this deceptively simple tale combines comedy and tragedy in a gripping tale of seven youngsters as they play, tease, argue and chase a squirrel.
It’s still a world of considerable innocence, but be warned, Potter packs a powerful punch! That sunny summer day of years gone by reaches a tragic and spectacular climax as innocence comes tumbling down amid the flames of a burning shed!
Blue Remembered Hills, is an evocation of Potter’s own wartime childhood in Gloucestershire.
Eve Robertson (Audrey), Gina Lamb (Angela), Laurence Wilson (Peter), Leigh Symonds (Raymond), Richard Eton (Donald), Ian McHale (Willie), Trevor Brown (John)
Caroline Clegg (Producer/Director), Allison Clarke (Designer), ‘Walk the Plank’ (Shed Pyrotechnics), Esther Hope Jones (Production Manager), Caron Wint (Production Administrator/Front of House), Alan Hulme (Press Officer), Anna Meeussen, Kirsty Russell and Karen Hay (Crew Members), Liam Packham (Work Experience).
“Potter’s Feelgood Factor… is brought vividly to life by seven fine actors in a memorable production...” - Manchester Evening News
“...the burning shed is a coup and would surprise and shock any audience member not familiar with the story. It’s a festival programmers dream, a wonderful ensemble company, sensitively and astutely directed, low tech, flexible, humorous and dramatic...” - Director of the Manchester Festival
“...the casting is first rate and such is the attention to detail and the superb playing of the cast, that this deserves to be seen further- a-field. It is 1943 and the crowd looks as if it has just emerged from an air-raid shelter carrying blankets. The venue is Heaton Park and the warden’s wireless broadcasts music of the day. Occasionally sirens wail and boiler suited girls show the way to Feelgood’s latest superb production...” - The Stage
“...This is a play that demands more casting-off of actorly inhibitions than most, with its requirement for adults to play children with their nose-wiping, dirty-kneed, cowboy-loving personalities intact. Feelgood’s magnificent seven, energetically directed by Caroline Clegg succeed brilliantly.” - Oldham Chronicle