Set in Hull Echoes, devised and performed by Act III and directed by Rupert Creed (Turning the Tide) is the story of a family from Hull, who find themselves reminiscing the morning of their Father Arthur’s funeral. All families have secrets and the Williams family have their fair share and secrets have a way of getting out, when old ghosts are rattled.
Echoes is a family drama told around the kitchen table and in flashback, which allows for the narrative to shift back and forth in a most inventive way. The two sisters Maureen and Helen, played by Polly Pattison and Wendy Dobbs, come across an old picture of their father from his time in the war. They both realise with sadness, that they never really knew, who the man in the faded picture was.
Written by Andrew Jackson and members of the cast, Echoes emerged through a collection of stories; of memories and the shared experience of those generations, who lived during the war. A war that was not just happening overseas in some foreign field, but landing right here, on the doorstep.
Echoes is a play with real heart and authenticity, a familiar story brought vividly to life through the remarkable performances of the cast. The torment and anguish portrayed by Hugh Newsam replaying nightmarish scenes, recalling comrades who didn’t return, brings a tear to the eye.
Watching Dot Barker as Eileen, proud wife and mother, struggling against all the odds, you begin to understand the reasons why it was so important, to protect the family from the past.
There’s a dry humour in Echoes, some of the best lines come from the most unlikely scenarios. The appearance of the impudent brother Jack, played in easygoing fashion and very likable by Bernard Hair, provides some light relief and yet more reason, to warm to this family.
The writing is dense and it is something of a balancing act, to keep the fluidity between past and present. Director Rupert Creed manages to bring it all together; more than just making it work, he makes it believable for an audience.
Before seeing the show I’d seen a few pictures leaked of the set, designed by Ed Ullyart. The cross section of a bombed house is impressive and it is not just the family who have secrets in this show.
The lighting and sound are well devised and compliment each other, particularly for the air raid scenes, searchlights sweeping the skies, the sound of bombers flying overhead. From somewhere an old crooner is singing, lights flicker across the dance hall, Arthur and Eileen are remembering the moment when they first met.
There’s a group of women around me as I collect my thoughts after the ovation.
‘Int it good,’ they say ‘Int it good,’ and I have to agree it really is.
Echoes continues at Hull Truck Theatre 7pm Thurs – Sat (incl matinee 2,30pm)