LIONEL Bart is probably best known for his musical OLIVER! And during its record breaking run in London’s West End in the early 1960’s he quickly followed that success with another musical, BLITZ!
Blitz is set in London’s East End during the Blitz of World War 2 and tells the story of two feuding families who compete for business in the local street market. The story drew on Bart’s childhood memories of London’s Jewish East End during the Blitz and, like most musicals, centred on a romance between a young couple, in this case aÂ JewishÂ woman and aÂ CockneyÂ man, although the largest role and main point-of-view character is that of Mrs. Blitztein, the young woman’s mother. Â Â
Bart himself described the play as "…three human stories inside an epic canvas which personifies the spirit of London and how that spirit developed during the 247 nights of bombing all over London.
TOPS on stage have been staging musicals in Thurrock since 1960 and in more recent years have opened its doors to the younger members of the community by staging shows involving children.
Having staged OLIVER, The King & I and an all children production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, BLITZ continues the link with local young people and has brought together a multi age cast of almost 70 people for the six performances in March.
Gary Sullivan, Chairman of TOPS explains, “What makes this production so exciting is the broad range of ages it appeals to, the older members of the community being given the chance to reminisce about the good old days, and the youngsters being given a glimpse of life during those war torn years.”
The Groups back stage team have been busy at work, constructing and gathering together authentic look props, furnishings and memorabilia from the period which has involved the Thurrock Museum as well as local places of 1940’s interest.
BLITZ, even those set against a time of great hardship and devastation, is full of humour. The characters meet in conflict but sing in joy and with the reflective hint of Vera Lynn and the songs which kept our spirits high, Lionel Bart’s BLITZ is a great little trip down memory lane and well worth a visit.
Tickets are on sale from the Group Box office (01375) 675591 or by ordering online at www.topstickets.co.uk. If you are passing the Theatre on Saturday mornings you can pop in and pick up your tickets from the theatre box office but in the first instance, and for the best available seats in the house, call Marion Hunting on the above number.