City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

I'll Be Seeing You Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 21 August 2013

I'll Be Seeing You - image from trailer.
Show details
The Vault
Between the Bars
Running time: 
Rachel Jarmy (writer and costume designer), Warren Clark (director), Rachel Chapman (lighting designer), Paul Malpas (sound designer), Sarah Phelps (set designer), Ian Bruno, Alan Hay, Cat Nicol (producers).
Mark McCormack (Jeremy), Harry Peto (Edward), Sarah Phelps (Ivy), Sam Billing (Julia), Danielle Phillips (May), Sylvie England (Esther), Matt Jarvis (David), Andrew Shepherd (Gabe) (as seen - some cast members change during run).

Between the air raid siren and the all-clear sounding the evening will be punctuated by three bombs falling. In makeshift shelters people are pushed together as things fall apart.

This production tells the tales of how the Second World War touched the lives of ordinary people in Cambridge, an evacuation centre seemingly safe from the Blitz. "This is a war of the unknown warriors" as Churchill said during that summer of 1940.

The action is presented in three playlets featuring interrelated sets of people. Running through each of these are the members of an evacuee Jewish family.

Sheltering during the raid are Edward and Jeremy. They speak in clipped tones, the old school, slightly stilted cadence of classic films of the era, such as Brief Encounter. They talk of "doing their bit", of family and love interests. Sensitive and studious Jeremy has been stepping out with seamstress Julia, but both he and more worldly Edward appear under the thrall of fearless and exciting twins, David and Rebecca. They seem tentatively on the edge of a changing world, but when the bomb drops there will be more hiding under the table.

Julia is sheltering with her work colleagues in a basement. Safe as houses - except houses aren't safe any more. Conversation doesn't feel safe either, or at least not for Ivy, the conservative manager who feels herself superior in every way. Scandalised by the attitudes and growing confidence of her young charges, they snipe at each other between gimlet stares. Caught in this minefield is the family's youngest daughter, Esther. Where all has been war-time tact and kindness, Ivy's intolerance is like a bomb going off.

David is dodging bombs to get home, where his father is waiting and, atypically, praying. They are a family, Jewish only in name and tradition but have still been affected by people's reaction; an "infection in people's perception" that medical student David wants to clear up. But the all clear is yet to sound.

This is a watchable production presenting perceptive studies of the "common man" and family values within a class and gender divided nation - if a little facile in using the hook of anti-Semitism on which to hang it. The structure is artful in adding a sense of gravitas and presenting a number of ideas, but is a bit difficult to engage with. The middle section, with superb performances by the female cast members, tends to overshadow the others.

Commendable performance from Between the Bars.

Show times

3 - 26 (not 12 or 19) August 2013, 3.55pm

Ticket price