The revival of Lionel Bart's West End hit, Blitz!, which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Second World War, is brought live to the stage of the Regent in Christchurch later this month by Milton Musical Society.
This year marks several anniversaries connected to the two Great Wars: the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.
Milton Musical Society is focusing its 2014 season on a tribute to both wars with a production of Blitz! in March and, in November, ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’, a music hall celebration of the songs and words from the First Wolrd War period.
Blitz! was the most expensive West End musical ever produced when it opened on 8th May 1962 at the Adelphi Theatre. Lionel Bart wrote the music and lyrics, and directed the original London production, which ran for 568 performances.
Blitz! is set in 1940 as the East End of London takes a terrible pounding from Hitler’s bombs.
The story focuses on two families, the Jewish Blitzteins and the Cockney Lockes. Mrs Blitztein and Alfie Locke have adjacent stalls on Petticoat Lane: she sells herring, he sells fruit – and they do not like each other. Their children, Georgie Locke and Carol Blitztein, are in love with each other.
They all fight their own particular battles with neighbours and authorities alike, through many situations, many of them humorous, some tragic, and eventually find their own individual peace.
The show features many hit songs, including The Day After Tomorrow and Mums and Dads and Who’s this Geezer Hitler.
Many Christchurch residents and surrounding areas lived through these momentous events. The bombing of London and other cities really tested the spirit and resolve of British people through difficult times. For many in the audience of this production it will be a nostalgic-filled trip into their past.
The show runs at the Regent (01202 499199) from Wednesday 26th to Saturday 29th March at 7.30pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are £14.50 (concs £13.50).