V for Victory
Reviewed – 26th March 2018
“they have succeeded in conveying a real sense of community and wartime resilience”
Claiming to be “an original take on the classic war musical”, V For Victory follows a group of young friends as they stand together in resistance against the German occupation of Jersey during the Second World War. The subject matter in itself is intriguing as there is a distinct lack of wartime musicals at the moment, let alone any documenting personal stories of the inhabitants of the Channel Islands during this period. Directed by Anthony Orme, this brief run marks V For Victory’s premiere and is “an abridged version displaying all of the musical elements of the show, with reduced scenes and narration throughout”.
From the moment the audience enter the performance space they are transported to the 1940s, with wartime songs such as “In the Mood” playing and simple, but effective, design elements on stage, such as wartime posters and the flag of Jersey.
Over the course of the production we are introduced to central characters and presented with their personal stories. There are some good performances from the actors in these roles, most notably Aaron Bannister-Davies (Thomas Carter), Georgina Rose Hanson (Liz Edwards) and Alex Wadham (Capt. Gunther Schneider). These actors give particularly engaging performances, coupled with strong vocals.
Aside from the strong individual performances, the most powerful moments in the production occur in the group musical numbers and scenes. All cast members’ voices blend well together and they have succeeded in conveying a real sense of community and wartime resilience. The close-knit relationships and bonds the characters share are clear to see.
Accompanying the actors’ vocals is a backing track, as well as live keyboard accompaniment from Composer, Günther Fiala. This occasionally overpowers the vocals and makes it difficult to hear some of the lyrics, but is something that can be easily fixed.
Although a condensed version of the full production, this premiere of V For Victory packs a punch. Some characters could perhaps do with a bit of development but, if Now You Know Productions go on to stage the musical in full, this could no doubt be done. Overall, V For Victory is a powerful production, highlighting an important period of history and the strength and determination of the people of Jersey during such challenging times.
Reviewed by Emily K Neal
Photography by Anthony Orme
V for Victory