West End comes to Fenland

Some of the guests who attended the Light's launch of its arts programming. ANL-140907-154831001
Some of the guests who attended the Light's launch of its arts programming. ANL-140907-154831001

You can’t beat live theatre – but living here in the Fens it’s not always easy to see some of the big London productions.

So it’s absolutely great that the new Light Cinema in Wisbech is one of many cinemas up and down the country to beam productions – either live from the theatre or as a specially-made film – to its audiences via its Light Arts programme.

On Thursday a disappointingly small audience were treated to a wow of a show “From Here To Eternity - The Musical”.

Yes, it is the same story as the cult 1953 film, which starred Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, but this adaptation has a little more grit – basically there is swearing and there is no euphemistic covering up of the fact the girls are prostitutes.

Lyrics guru Tim Rice has taken the story, first told in a Pulitzer prize-winning novel by James Jones, and made it a fast-paced musical with a score by Stuart Brayson – which is nothing short of breath-taking.

Set in the days leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 it tells the story of the men of G Company and, in particular, three of its cohorts.

Troubled Private Robert E Lee Prewitt (Robert Lonsdale) who falls for kind-hearted prostitute Lorene (Siubhan Harrison), his sergeant Milt Warden (Darius Campbell – yes, that Darius!) who embarks on a dangerous affair with his officer’s wife, Karen (Rebecca Thornhill) and private Angelo Maggio (Ryan Sampson), who meets a grisly death at the hands of the army bully boys.

The show was filmed at the Shaftesbury Theatre, where it ran for around eight months – it may be brought back at some point – but, for now, the only way to see it is this film production.

On a downside the small audience at Thursday night’s showing meant there was not the atmosphere you would get in a packed theatre house – which meant there was no applauding when the cast completed a set piece or Robert Lonsdale finished one of his solo performances.

As I said, for people living outside the capital and other major cities the cinema offers a great opportunity to see the shows we in ‘The Sticks’ might otherwise normally miss.