Welcome to the wedding reception of Finn and Fran. You could imagine that they are a young couple, dancing to the melodic strains of “Unforgettable” and promising never to be a moment apart. But they have been separated for sixty years.
Watching them dance are Finn’s son John and Fran’s son Brad with his wife Jen. They discuss how this all came to pass. John relates the tale, taking a more romantic view while Brad is willing to dismiss their earlier encounter as no more than a summer fling.
Split staging allows us to determine for ourselves as we see the young couple as they meet in 1952. Finn is back from National Service, feeling his way back into civilian life by working in the fairgrounds along the glamorous Blackpool coast, England’s Las Vegas.
Under a jack-the-lad exterior Finn is somewhat more sensitive, old fashioned and principled. Fran is determined and free-spirited, perhaps discontented that the freedoms the war-years afforded women are evaporating. The one area where she is more traditional is her family, where a tragic history has kept her bound to her father. She will be forced to make decisions, the implications of which will change the course of all their lives.
Flitting from present to past we see what really happened and more is revealed about how the nature of true love will win out.
It’s a neatly structured tale with nice attention to detail that captures both the period’s feel and sensibilities. While the romance has a gentle charm and youthful vivacity the table-talk could have more animation and sometimes feels like little more than scene setting.
A good traditional piece of theatre that is memorable if not unforgettable.
Show Times: 7 to 22 (not 9, 16) August 2015 at 9.40pm.
Ticket Prices: £8 (£6.50) to £9 (£7). Families £26 to £28.