THE indomitable spirit of Londoners at the height of the Blitz comes to the fore in a stirring musical at Limelight Theatre this November and December.
Written by Lionel Bart – best known as composer of Oliver! – and directed by Alan Brock, Blitz! is a musical full of family feuds, fun and forbidden love, sprinkled with nostalgic wartime melodies and rich characters.
The story focuses on the intense mutual dislike of Cockney stallholder Alfred Locke and his neighbouring Jewish trader Mrs Blitztein.
Both are displeased when Mrs Blitztein’s daughter and Alfred’s son fall in love and eventually marry.
Originally staged in 1962, Blitz! was never seen for many years, largely because the original scores went missing.
It was reassembled in Australia by 19-year-old Andrew Jarrett in 1985, leading Bart to come out of obscurity to see the production.
Brock said he was inspired to direct Blitz! because he spent the majority of his school years down air-raid shelters in World War II.
“I was evacuated out of London after our house was bomb-blasted three times, so I can relate to the storyline,” he said.
“Blitz! is the story of hardships, love and friendships, lifted by more than 25 lively songs, highlighting the resilience of people in the East End and their determination not to have their morale broken.”
First appearing on stage 69 years ago as an 11-year-old, Brock performed in a comedy act with his father at numerous working men’s clubs in London.
He went on to perform in a plethora of productions in the UK with favourites including Scrooge The Musical, Hobson’s Choice and Me and My Girl.
Since moving to Australia 15 years ago, Brock’s alliance has been with Limelight Theatre where he has appeared in High Society, Out Of Order, ’Allo ’Allo, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Phantom of the Opera and Pride and Prejudice.
“With Blitz! the main challenge is the cast of 43, including 14 children,” he said.
“For many of them, it’s their first time on stage so there’s a great deal of directing to be done.”
Blitz! plays at 8pm November 24, 25, 26, 30, December 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Book tickets at www.limelighttheatre.com.au or call 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday.