Venue: Scarcroft Allotments
Review by: Julia Pattison
It was great to see Mikron theatre return to York again with their latest production Redcoats – a play about the history of Butlins.
A play written from the heart by Nick Ahad, who addressed the issues of whether modern ways should replace tradition, by creating two very distinct characters, retiring Redcoat “Auntie Lynne“ (Rachel Benson), and overbearing, irritating marketing guru Destiny( Elizabeth Robin ) who both had very conflicting views on the subject .
“Aunty Lynne“ was obviously held in very high esteem by young enthusiastic Redcoat Barry (Christopher Arkeston), and the poignancy of the impact she’d had on his life came across most effectively through Christopher’s earnest, and impassioned performance; she’d truly been a friend indeed to him. Elderly Lynne (played with great conviction by Rachel) had another unshakeable ally too, 86-year-old Techie Terence, who’d been with Lynne through thick and thin at Butlins Skegness.
Joshua Considine was sparking on all cylinders in his performance as this doddery, loyal, and very funny old lad, as well as bringing alive many other smaller roles.
His heartfelt rendition of the song Innovation In Our Nation left you with a lump in your throat and was a particular highlight of the evening.
Mikron is renowned for combining storytelling with music, and both were as magical as ever in this production, showcasing the cast’s tremendous musical abilities and acting talent.
The song lyrics were written by Nick Ahad, with the songs composed by musical director Rebekah Hughes, and were delivered with great enthusiasm and gusto by the cast, despite the evening being decidedly chilly – ever the professionals!
We learnt a lot about Billy Butlin’s vision of folk being able to have fun on holiday, and how he succeeded in getting rid of class distinction in the camps; quite some feat in the forties.
Christopher Arkeston took on the role of showman Billy, as well as the role of Redcoat Barry, and created very real characters who you took to your heart.
We were left to reflect as to what we could achieve if we create community, and the importance of people coming together.
The weather might have been chilly, but magnificent Mikron left us all with a warm glow.