Not really good enough to keep you occupied

Olivia Hallinan and Adam Gillen in Lotty's War
Olivia Hallinan and Adam Gillen in Lotty's War
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Let’s start with the positive: Lotty’s War is a really good story.

It presents a slice of life as it might have been experienced by one Channel Islander during the Nazi occupation of Guernsey in World War II.

When Lotty’s home is commandeered by the enemy, she refuses to move out and finds herself waiting on a general who seems intent on winning her heart.

The play could be more subtle; a lot more subtle. As it is, two of the three cast (a fourth one appears for just two or three minutes) give sledgehammer performances.

Olivia Hallinan as Lotty is disappointing after her gentle interpretation of the post mistress’s assistant Laura Timmins in the BBC adaptation of Lark Rise to Candleford.

She is, however, eclipsed in the overacting department by her co-star Adam Gillen, of Fresh Meat fame, who plays her friend and would-be husband, Ben. He morphs from a child, tumbling on to the set like a comedy turn, to a tight-lipped, bitter adult … but is endearing in neither guise.

Thank goodness then for character number three, General Rolf Bernberg, who brings a little style to table thanks to Mark Letheren (Wire in the Blood).

Sadly, his performance isn’t enough to lift this production out of the doldrums, and we were left with a feeling that we really don’t care about any of the characters.

Despite this, the story still shines through, reminding us of the dreadful dilemmas faced by the islanders during five years of occupation … so hats off to writer Giuliano Crispini.

Joyce Bishop