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Watermill Senior Youth Theatre - Digging for Victory

7th to 10th March 2018.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

One of our Land Girls is missing

Watermill youth theatre solve a wartime riddle

Watermill Senior Youth Theatre: Digging for Victory, at The Watermill, Bagnor, from Wednesday, March 7, to Saturday, March 10

Local playwright Danielle Pearson has written a spiffing mystery play, Digging For Victory, for The Watermill's Senior Youth Theatre.

It is set during the Second World War and the large talented cast of 30 youngsters captured the spirit of life in the 1940s, as England braced itself for the war on the home front.

Isohel Nicolson's atmospheric set has a huge poster invoking girls to 'Join the Women's Land Army' filling the back of the stage, with stairs leading to the floor above and a straw-covered floor creating the Nott's family's farm.

Three sisters arrive from the chaos of wartime London at the farm, to help work on the land, to provide the food much-needed by the nation,

Fern Speakman earnestly plays the eldest sister Beryl while Joyce (Josie Embelton) has ambitions to be an author or perhaps a spy and Vera (Joely Hopkins) is the practical mechanic who is itching to repair the broken-down tractor.

Dylan and Louie Morris bring a nice touch of comedy in their roles as the officers in the Home Guard and Asher Dunnet brings the romance interest as Corporal George Hawkins.

Harry Forkin creates a superb likeable rogue character as Arthur Winterbottom, the greengrocer who sells black market goods under the counter, including brandy and illicit oranges.

The farm is run by the officious Horace Nott (Daniel Norman) and his wife Nancy (Alex Parsons), who organises the girls with military precision.

However, rumours of a German spy in the vicinity create tension and suspicion and when fellow Land Girl Mabel (Thea McLaughlin) goes missing, leaving behind a series of coded clues the sisters are determined to solve the riddles and find her.

Head Land Girl Susan (Matilda Beresford) tries to control her new recruits, but the headstrong girls are determined to solve the puzzle, especially since they discover that the pig has escaped from the pen and aircraft part and equipment have been stored in the sty What is going on and where is Mabel?

There is excellent support from the ensemble in this thrilling adventure that is beautifully costumed, with lighting by Lawrence Doyle.

Director Heidi Bird has created a moving and highly-enjoyable production to showcase this impressive young company and the audience loved it. They should all be proud of their achievement.