On a day when the Hardest Day of the Battle of Britain  on 18 August 75 years ago filled the news headlines and World War II planes again flew over south-east England, how apt it was that the Original Theatre Company’s production of Terrence Rattigan’s play “Flare Path” should open its tour at the Devonshire Park Theatre.

There was a packed house for this first night and the audience were not to be disappointed as this glimpse of life for RAF bomber crews and their loved ones unfolded before them.  The play has a real mixture of tension and humour and even for a first night, the chemistry between the actors was palpable. The impressive and cleverly designed set – a small hotel near a Lincolnshire airfield – was perfect.  There was no doubt the audience felt it could indeed see the ‘flare path’ through the huge window backdrop and at times it was difficult to resist the temptation to duck as a plane flew overhead – so impressive was the sound design!

With such a huge first night audience it was not surprising that there was barely any standing room in the bar as The Friends gathered to welcome the cast and company to this opening night reception.

l-r: Front: Siobhan O'Kelly, Olivia Hallinan, Holly Smith, Shvorne Marks, James Cooney Middle: Simon Darwen, Leon Ockenden, Stephanie Jacob Back: William Reay, Adam Best, Alastair Whatley

l-r: Front: Siobhan O’Kelly, Olivia Hallinan, Holly Smith, Shvorne Marks, James Cooney
Middle: Simon Darwen, Leon Ockenden, Stephanie Jacob
Back: William Reay, Adam Best, Alastair Whatley

 

So many old friends among the cast to catch up with – as the pictures below demonstrate – and the drinking and chatting went on for quite some time!

Leon Ockendon and Director Justin Audibert

Flare Path is directed by Justin Audibert – new from his acclaimed success with The Jew of Malta for the RSC and indeed The Friends were delighted to welcome back Jasper Britton, who stars in that production. Jasper was last seen at the DPT in the Original Theatre Company’s The Private Ear & The Public Eye in 2013.
Jasper Britton in conversation with Alistair Whatley and Siobghan O'Kelly