Faith is based on the story of Imber, a village which had the misfortune to be located too near to a military base on Salisbury Plain. On All Saints Day, 1943, the people were summoned to a meeting in the village schoolroom and given 47 days’ notice to evacuate. Most residents, including the vicar, reluctantly went along with this, seeing it as their contribution to the war effort, although there were some dissenting voices who protested in vain.

These youngsters who are clearly ambitious and have some ability are attempting to run before they can walk. What they need is precisely what they have rejected: some constraints and a director.

NM Generation is a student-run company which started “when Luke Nixon and James Mudge decided that they wanted to write their own plays and break away from the usual constraints of the theatre; being constantly directed by somebody else.” They bill themselves as “one of the youngest theatre companies at the Fringe,” although given the number of school groups around they must be one among many and are actually aged 16-18.

The show is peppered with the interspersed mystery of the vicar’s son, extended to the point where it ceases to be interesting. The ongoing saga of the loathsome couple’s wedding plans has a similar effect.

The portrayal of the characters resorts to stereotypes, whether it be the vicar, the Hooray Henrys, the village locals or the members of the armed forces. The pace is slow and the plot is tedious and drawn-out, and just when you think it is all over, there is an epilogue which the play could do without.

Naturalism is not easy, especially for young and inexperienced actors, and experience is exactly what this cast does not have. This is a very poor choice of genre given the ages of the adults they play. These youngsters who are clearly ambitious and have some ability are attempting to run before they can walk. What they need is precisely what they have rejected: some constraints and a director.

Reviews by Richard Beck

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The Blurb

1943. Imber, Salisbury Plain. As D-Day looms, US troops need training. Surrounded by military activity, evacuation begins. With a wedding still to plan and with constant worries about his son, Reverend William must support this community in their last 47 days. Based on true events. 'A full commercial production, which shows great promise and a high level of professionalism' (Rob Grant, writer, co-creator of Red Dwarf). ‘Faith is a brave initiative, from exciting new writers' (Paul Milton, Creative Director of the Everyman Theatre and Writer's Guild Award winner).

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