Part of the Six Plays One Day event at Tristan Bates, Songs of Innocence really stands out from the crowd. Set in 1914, it has been beautifully written and comprises of an excellent cast with six main actors.
Cleverly written interwoven plot.
After the death of their father, Jorgie (Joe Lindley) and Arthur Hardy (Jonny Wise) are thrown into a world of adulthood far sooner than they should have been. They need to step up to the responsibilities in order to keep the roof above the families head and protect their mother (Laura Noble). Both brothers soon learn that life will never be the same again in more ways than one.
The songs are written by Jonny Wise in collaboration with the other cast members. The upbeat jovial songs are accompanied with the cast playing a varied selection of instruments. Singer-song writer Katie Kingston as Cecile Beaumont has the most beautiful voice.
The younger characters in the production are clearly living the age of innocence with the frivolity of the songs they are singing and the raucous light-hearted banter shared between them. At times I was wondering which direction this storyline was going to be taking. Little did I know what was around the corner.
Lili Coste (Saskia Pay), the headstrong, sharp-tongued young lady who has returned to the village after being asked to leave her finishing school is the centre of attention for all the boys in the village. Her part is well written and her character brings much of the humour to the play.
But there was nothing to prepare me for the harsh reality at the ending of this play. This cleverly written interwoven plot has hints throughout if you listen carefully. What takes place completely took me by surprise. Louis Gale is a truly commendable scriptwriter who is one to watch out for in the future.