Keep Smiling Through

With a nation wallowing in a wave of nostalgia, this affectionate look back to the war years is a chance to experience the greatest hits of the 30's and 40's in an intimate musical review. As the bombs start to fall, the people in the street are determined to keep their chin up and carry on regardless. This company demonstrates how music was the cement that bound the population together.

Four young singers take us on a musical journey from the announcement of war until its end. Presented like a scrapbook of wartime memories, the songs are woven together with some interesting facts and some clever and convincing reconstructions of radio adverts from the Home Front. There are stories of the blackouts, rationing, the soldiers off fighting and the women they left behind.

The variety of the programme is to be applauded, all of the familiar classics are here from ‘We'll Meet Again’ to ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ and to their credit there are some lesser known songs included which add interest. The quartet of singers, supported and accompanied on the piano by their musical director, are an engaging and competent enough bunch but despite this being a nostalgia filled feel good production, it lacks both in substance and quality. The whole production felt rushed and there was no opportunity to get a feel of the performers’ personalities. There are a few pitch and harmony issues too where some of the voices don't quite gel - unfortunately these are highlighted by the small auditorium and close proximity to the audience. The most memorable part of the show is the reconstruction of the wartime radio ads and possibly staging the show as a 'radio hour' might be a more successful framing device. Overall a pleasant way to spend an afternoon at The Fringe.

Reviews by Lauren Humphreys

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The Blurb

A nostalgic look back at the 1940s evoking memories of the dance hall through the well-loved songs of that era, brought to you by the same team presenting Storming the Barricade.