On Saturday, I returned from Glasgow having filmed and photographed the first ever performance of Keep The Home Fires. Avid readers will be able to see a selection of pictures from the performance around the site. Performed during Bridge Week – a break of sorts where collaboration between students is encouraged and new works are too – at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, everyone in the team pulled together to produce the show, despite events conspiring to prevent it taking place.
I have to admit, there were a couple of moments, where I was fighting back tears. Tell Me What You’re Thinking was the first of these. Listening to Eve (our protagonist) begging Frank, her husband, for a window into his thoughts – I think we can all say that we’ve been there – before ending with the desperate line ‘Please, I want to know’ was heart-rending enough. Frank’s reply ‘If you could see what I was thinking, would you still walk out that door?’ finished the scene with sadness at the lack of communication between the couple. It also meshes perfectly with the idea that they were both thinking the same thing, but left it unsaid because that is what they do in their marriage.
Later, there was a perfect moment in Lovers Not Fighters, where all five actors are singing at the same time. The harmonies gave me goosebumps, while the lyrics made me think about the irrationality of war. Maybe that’s too deep a topic for this blog, though the whole tetralogy of musicals are about war, so perhaps not…
I smiled at the reference to Picture By The Fire (placed in the middle of I Could Be Sherlock) and also at the reference to Man in Uniform. I was surprised by how much the audience laughed during the performance. They found I Really Love Roast particularly funny, which I hadn’t really thought about. On the face of it, it is very strange to be singing a power ballad about loving a roast.
In many ways, having just one single performance of the show was quite disappointing. It was only open to students and staff at the Conservatoire, which again constrained the potential audience, however I felt that overall it was well received. The cast have expressed an interest in taking it further, perhaps to the Edinburgh Festival or beyond. I firmly believe that it needs to be critiqued by a wider audience and at an hour long, it is perfect for a Fringe performance. Maybe we could even transfer an extended version to London?