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A Class Act - The Third Tunnel

8th to 10th March 2012.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Keep calm and carry on

A Class Act: The Third Tunnel, at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore, from Thursday, March 8 to Saturday, March 10

A Class Act returned to Arlington Arts to re-stage their 2003 production of The Third Tunnel. The play, written and directed by David Slade, takes place in London during the Blitz, interweaving several plot lines to show the lives of the ordinary, mostly working class people, left behind while the soldiers are fighting abroad.

It could have easily been a story laced with tragedy; what with the sound of bombs between sets, a wife leaving her husband for the local spiv and a group of young children accidentally creating an explosion by detonating an old weapons cache found in the deepest tunnel of the underground. However, what shone through was the pioneering spirit of those who were left behind: to carry on no matter what.

To enable this spirit to shine forth, the cast gave hearty performances of classic wartime songs including Hold your Hand out, you Naughty Boy. Zandra Forder gave a heartfelt rendition of Freedom, giving an honest insight into her character, despite a few minor difficulties with the microphone.

Phil Campbell ran the show as the charismatic Ralph, who we first meet conning an old man into buying a ticket to a non-existent part of the underground. Upon finding out later, the old man exclaims it to be "wonderful, that entrepreneurship can still exist in such hard times".

With too many other names to list in a play where everyone performed with a marvellous vigour and enthusiasm, a special mention has to go to the gang of children. Left to their own devices while their parents were preoccupied with the war effort, Shanay Thomas, Katie Elliott, Liz Murray, Caitlin Barron, Mary Williams, the cheeky Mark Coates, the hilarious Rebekah Spencer and the gangleader William Cohen, excelled in creating a sense of mischief, adventure and humour throughout.

The show was rounded off by a delicately and beautifully sung rendition of I Vow to Thee My Country, led by Kate Leek, which embodied the stirring sense of pride that those who lived through such times are renowned for and, indeed, those who performed tonight should feel at their own achievements.