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Shropshire Drama Company performance to mark RAF centenary end

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | Theatre & Comedy | Published: | Last Updated:

Shropshire Drama Company is performing a Second World War drama to mark the end of the RAF's centenary year.

Emily Walker as Patricia Graham, Jack Henderson as flight lieutenant Teddy Graham, Michele Rowland-Jones as Mrs Oakes and Derek Willis as squadron leader ‘Gloria’ Swanson

Terence Rattigan’s drama Flare Path is a tribute to the collective spirit of wartime bomber crews and their partners, and drew on his own wartime experiences as a gunner and Flight Lieutenant in Coastal Command.

Set in the residents’ lounge of a small Lincolnshire hotel during 1941, a place where the RAF pilots and crews would hang out before and after raids, the core of the play concerns a personal dilemma between three characters - Peter Kyle, a successful Hollywood actor whose star is about to wane, his former lover the young actress Patricia Warren and her husband Flight Lieutenant Teddy Graham DFC.

Although it was Patricia who initiated the break-up with Peter, she finds that she still has strong feelings for him, and his unexpected appearance at the hotel forces her to face up to the conflict of her emotions and decide who needs her more – the former lover who is afraid of what his future holds or her pilot husband, whose breezy manner is a veneer to cover his shattered nerves.

Derek Willis as squadron leader ‘Gloria’ Swanson, Emily Walker as Patricia Graham and Jack Henderson as flight lieutenant Teddy Graham

Director Rosalind Garrard said: “Flare Path was first performed in 1942 in London at a time when there was constant attack by enemy aircraft, but nevertheless it drew large audiences who felt a close affinity with the characters in the play and it enjoyed a long and successful run.

"The plot reveals how the contained emotions, typical of the British at that time, underpinned the strength of the air crew who routinely risked their lives on every mission, as well as those who remained behind. The story also shows up what love and loyalty can really mean in what were extraordinary conditions."

Early bird tickets at £14 are now on sale for production at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury, which takes place from 26 to 29 June.

To book contact the theatre on 01743 281281 or order online at theatresevern.co.uk

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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