THE REVLON GIRL by Neil Anthony Docking
Wharf Theatre, March 28 to April 2
Some of us are old enough to remember the shock and grief occasioned by the disaster at Aberfan in Wales in October 1966 when 116 children and 28 adults died after a slag tip crashed down on a village school and neighbouring houses.
The Wharf Theatre in Devizes has been brave enough to revisit the tragedy by mounting an effective play on the subject by Neil Anthony Docking.
The bereaved mothers thought it a good idea, eight months after the catastrophe, to invite a beautician from the cosmetics company Revlon to their community hall in the function room at the village hotel, with rain leaking through the skylight.
The Revlon girl, Charlotte (Rose Fitter), arrives in some trepidation and with good reason. These women are still traumatised by what happened and its aftermath and she finds herself the Aunt Sally for their grief and resentment.
There’s feisty, resentful Rona; traumatised Marilyn (Abigail Newton), vicar’s wife Jean and good-natured, down-to-earth Sian. Foul-mouthed Rona (Helen Langford), in particular, voices the resentment of many that their children were sacrificed to the mendacity of the Powers That Be.
Jean (Ange Davis) has the Herculean task of reconciling her emotions with her Christian faith. Only Sian, in a touching performance by Georgina Pepper, sees that only the advice of an expert can make her attractive enough to her husband for them to be physically reconciled and have another child.
This is an extraordinary emotional journey for the audience and director Lyn Taylor and her superb cast have to be congratulated for giving us the truth of the situation through a wonderful production.