11 June, 2019

Blonde Bombshells blitz Pitlochry this week

You’ll hear the strains of the big band music and the sound of swing rising from Pitlochry this week, as Alan Plater’s Blonde Bombshells of 1943 - the third show to open at Pitlochry Festival Theatre (PFT) this Summer Season – launches Thursday, 13 June with the first preview performance at 8pm. A sparkling wartime comedy brimming with live music – expect nostalgic fun and games in iconic 1940’s style.

Following the 1960’s happiness injection of Summer Holiday and supernatural marital mayhem of Blithe Spirit, this Thursday’s opening presents a step back in time to period comedy, and a return to wonderful, feel-good music.

Betty’s glamorous 8-piece band introduces a world of the blitz spirit, destined for a long sought-after BBC recording in Hull. But, as with every other time they’ve played for the Yanks, her ranks have been depleted by the predatory GIs. Betty, and remaining bandmates Grace, Vera and May, have just one day to regroup, and audition new members at the double!

Enter a naive schoolgirl clarinetist, a nun with a ukelele clipped to her crucifix, a snooty soldier saxophonist and a fella happy to don a sparkly frock to dodge the draft. Will Betty manage to recreate the Valentino Sisters in double-quick time?

Director Ben Occhipinti tells us:

I fell in love with Blonde Bombshells of 1943 because it’s a memory play that celebrates music. Much of my career I’ve worked with music in theatre, and I have seen the power that songs have to help people in times of great trouble. This play articulates that beautifully.”

It’s also a play, unashamedly about strong women and celebrating difference. Ben continues:

“For so many generations women have done ‘the jobs of men’. However, what Blonde Bombshells so brilliantly demonstrates is how women have always been as capable as men. We have always been, and will always be, communities of people trying to make our way in the world together. The Blonde Bombshells group powerfully illustrates how a community can be comprised of many different souls, but in the end still be united behind a shared goal… and inspire us to love others who may be different from ourselves.”

Based on the BAFTA award-winning film starring Judi Dench and Ian Holm, this musical comedy is guaranteed to raise spirits, jam-packed with live performances of hits by George Formby, Glenn Miller, The Andrews Sisters and more, with all the glitz and sparkle war-torn Britain needed.

2018 Season Leon Sinden Best Supporting Actress award-winner, Fiona Wood, takes to the stage for the first time this Season, as Lily, the nun who plays a mean ukelele, with Emilie Patry a seasoned Bard In The Botanics performer, returning with her saxophone from Summer Holiday, to play Band-Leader Betty. Alexander Bean is draft-dodging drummer Patrick, Wendy Paver, last in Pitlochry in the hugely-acclaimed Hello, Dolly! (2013), also from the West End’s Dreamboats And Petticoats, brings along her double bass as Grace. More of the consummate musicians from Summer Holiday join the band: Alicia McKenzie as May, Tilly-Mae Millbrook as snooty soldier, Miranda, and Lynwen Haf Roberts, as Liz, the innocent schoolgirl about to take her first musical steps to stardom - a musical step-change from 1960's Shadows music to World War II hits!

So, make sure you book your tickets in time to roll up your victory rolls, get out that sharp trilby, and join in a night of sparkling comedy!

Call PFT’s Box Office team on 01796 484 626 or click here to buy online

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