From a unique perspective rarely explored in war based drama, Julian Woolford‘s devised piece tells the story of an all-female volunteer entertainment troupe, The Bluebirds, who aim to defy the tragedies of World War II with their energetic and catchy routines to wartime classics such as “Accentuate the Positive” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.
However, behind the scenes is where the reality of their situations occurs, as we are given an insight into the horrors of death, poverty and racism inflicted by War.
The star of the show is undoubtedly Natalie Mcqueen as Virginia, a beautiful performer having a controversial relationship with a black Colombian soldier. Her rendition of “A Nightingale Sang” is faultless and powerful. Comic value is brought to the stage in the form of Bluebird Audrey (Lyndsey Dean), whilst raw emotion is depicted maturely through widow Daisy (Danielle Morris).
The male cast members, though less captivating than the Bluebirds themselves, negotiate their own issues, particularly within the homosexuality storyline, intelligently played between Josh Jones as dismissed soldier Charlie and theatre worker Bobby (Luke Jarvis), whilst Peter Peters’ (Jayson Wheatley) war cowardice is masked with a dislikeable comic persona, annoyingly repeating the phrase, ‘you lucky people’ at any given opportunity.
Although occasional faults such as word stumbling and sporadic pitching problems weaken a potentially outstanding production, Michelle Blair directs an ensemble of enthusiastic and energetic actors. They responsibly combine the difficulties of horrific circumstances, with upbeat patriotic spirit, encapsulated by the final song of the show, “Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye”, a positive yet tainted war-time classic.