Dancing Through The Shadows - Theatre ☆☆☆☆4

Showing from - Thursday, October 1, 2015 through till Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hull Truck Theatre - Kingston-upon-Hull

Jackie Foottit | Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dancing Through The Shadows reviewed by Jackie Foottit on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 for Downstage CentreHard times in Hessle: Jim English and Finlay McGuigan in 'Dancing Through The Shadows at the Hull Truck Theatre. (Photos by Andrew Billington)

The year is 1938. Men and women stroll on to the dimly lit stage chatting amongst themselves, seemingly without a care in the world.


Dressed in that era’s fashion they seem unaware of the seats in the small, intimate theatre gradually filling up with us theatregoers – plenty of us too, on a rainy Tuesday evening.This wonderful, small cast somehow managed to make the war play second fiddle to their own miseries, hardships and worries Bums settled on seats, it was all action as Britain’s then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appeared on stage in a now famous newsreel, waving a piece of paper announcing his agreement with Germany’s Adolf Hitler that the two countries would never go to war.

The stage came alive as the aforementioned group celebrated the good news. Among them Hessle-Roader, Sylvia (local girl Laura Aramayo) and Hessle-born Tom (Marc Graham) who meet at a local hop. Hessle Road, in Hull, was home to a salt-of-the-earth community – trawlermen, fish factory workers and the like. Hessle, on the outskirts of the city, housed people aspiring to a better way of life.

Sylvia worked in the fish house, while Tom was a bank clerk. She lived with her ne’er-do-well brother David (Hull lad Jim English) and her widower dad, Maurice (John Elkington) while he shared a home with his snobby mother Grace (Christine Mackie – Coronation Street’s Dr Gaddas) and his placid dad Gilbert (John Elkington in a dual role). Neither family was happy about the liaison – classy versus brassy.

Family Silver

Peace celebrations ended soon after when, on September 3, 1939, Chamberlain announced Britain was at war with Germany. undefinedAt first the war seemed not to touch this group. Sylvia carried on at the fish house, David still got into trouble, egged on by local bad boy, Brian (Marc Graham in a dual role); Grace polished the family silver; Maurice worked on his model boat and Gilbert pruned his roses and put oil in his Hillman car. Oh, and Sylvia and Thomas fell in love.

But soon David and Tom were uniformed and waving goodbye to their loved ones, leaving them to endure the hell of a city blitzed – 95% of buildings being either damaged or destroyed.

With loud, clear voices and realistic acting each member of this wonderful, small cast somehow managed to make the war play second fiddle to their own miseries, hardships and worries.  Flashes and bangs on the atmospheric stage setting of a bombed-out building kept reminding us of the horrors of warfare. But there was humour aplenty and more than one tear-jerking scene.

And whether you came from Hessle Road or Hessle town, only one thing mattered: survival.


Production Information

Theatre: Hull Truck Theatre

Showing Until: Saturday, October 24, 2015

Production Company: Hull Truck Theatre Company

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