The play opens in Winter, so heavy shawls and knitted gloves all round would have been appropriate. The lad, Reggie Boggis, was also far too well turned out to be what he was, a street urchin, constantly in trouble with his mother, staying out all night, tormenting the neighbours and teaching younger children dirty songs. He was clean and tidy, not as much as a shirt hanging out of his trousers, which would probably have been cut downs at that time and in that neighbourhood.
All the cast made a good attempt at the Accrington accent, some, inevitably, with greater success than others.
The Accrington Pals – St Peter Players
I admit I am not completely up to speed on the Lancashire accent but even those actors who occasionally sounded more London or Home Counties than Northern had obviously tried very hard. Suzie Batters portrayed May Hassell as the tough girl she is — taking advantage of the times to better herself while terrified of showing emotion. Your accent was good and consistent and you reacted in character throughout; a very strong performance.
Was your hair and make up too pristine perhaps? Liz Peskin gave us an Annie Boggis whose hard handed approach to child rearing collapses when she breaks down, the first one to be certain that the battle had been disastrous for the Pals — two extremes of emotion merging seamlessly, well portrayed. Again, accent very good. Georgina Kling as Bertha Treecott, another mill girl who became a tram conductress when the men joined the Pals, gave us a naive youngster; she conveyed the idea, to me at least, that she was representing all the young girls who had to grow up very quickly and support their parents, a good performance.
Tina Barclay as Sarah Harding, scripted as a mill girl in her late twenties but portrayed here as an older woman, the neighbourhood gossip and busybody. I have not seen this character in this light before but Tina made it work very well.
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Another good, consistent accent. Your accent was interesting because it was so broad that at times your words got slightly lost and I wished I had a Lancastrian with me to translate! Accent good and you were very believable as the experienced, hard bitten senior NCO on the verge of retirement, encouraging your boys, many of whom were still wet behind the ears and in need of nursing along.
A good helping of stage blood on the face and a soaked cloth might have worked better than the just scrubbed look!
Peel House Medical Practice
Everyone involved is to be congratulated on an excellent production. It chronicles in the round a vital piece of 20th-century history, showing the battlefield but concentrating on civilian life. It goes beyond documentary, drawing on a visionary stage vocabulary and creating individual stories that are both desolating and stirring It's a wonderful play for anywhere. To say that it leaves you emotionally shattered almost feels like an insult to those bygone souls and the horrors they faced but quietly shattering it is, all the same.
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The Accrington Pals