Sex in wartime Britain

Sex in wartime Britain

Robert Tanitch reviews Girlfriends at Union Theatre, London SE1

The Union Theatre has, in the last three months, staged three of Howard Goodall’s musicals: first The Dreaming, then Love Story and now Girlfriends.

Girlfriends takes place at a RAF Bomber Command base in Britain in 1941 and relates some of the wartime and bedtime experiences of the WAAF.

The men want to have sex before they die. The women don’t want to get too involved emotionally because they fear their hearts will be broken very soon by the death of the loved-one. The life-span of a pilot was short.

Robert Tanitch logoThe strength of Girlfriends, which is entirely sung-through, is the music and the singing. The emotional power of Goodall’s melodies is undeniable and the terrific singing of the chorus is very impressive. Freddie Tapner is making his professional debut as musical director. The sound is often thrilling.

The cast is headed by Corrine Priest and Perry Lambert as the two girls who are in love with the same officer, played by Tom Sterling. Catriana Sandison is a pacifist who wants to opt out of the war and Michael Rees is another officer, a good sort.

The Union Theatre deserves full houses.

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