THEATRE REVIEW: Lest We Forget ★★
Lest We Forget
The Greenwich Theatre, London
Friday 8th - Sunday 10th November 2019
From 1914 to 1919, we follow our two protagonists William James (Gilbert Kyem Jnr) and Edith Booth (Charlotte Green) as they fight for their passion of love against those who are opposed to the idea due to the colour of their skin. Lest We Forget in this form pays tribute on the centenary of the First World War, but sadly fails to provide heart or a lack of empathy throughout due to an unfocused storyline that fails to lift off the page, with basic conversation speech and lack of flow.
With a simplistic backdrop of wooden panels to adhere to the tale, we enter the auditorium to already find ourselves in front of Edith and William on opposite sides of the stage in spotlights, which continues to be poorly used to situate ourselves in each others households; with Kyem Jnr towering over the rest of the cast in height, he is rarely lit properly in full form when spending most of his time upstage, which seems like a simple mistake not rectified. The reputation of dimming and intensifying the design to change sequences becomes draining, and the flood of white light from the left hand entrance facing the stage distracting.
With Kyem Jnr and Green portraying our two leads, Cassandra Hercules and Chris Anderson make up the final two members, with the latter multi rolling to achieve differentiation and a juxtaposition of internal feelings dependant on character; as Edith's brother Dave, he protects his sister without the love of their parents around, and his first encounter of Edith's new love interest is of a distasteful one, but transforming into William's fellow friend Phillip Booth, his complete posture and tone changes. Hercules amongst the four stands out as William's sister Annie, who works alongside Edith and gives a considerable amount of emotion; it's a supporting role which could have done with more exposure, but we are grateful for the scenes in which Hercules partakes.
Overall, Lest We Forget feels like it knows where it wants it’s tale of forbidden love to head towards, but is unable to give substance with speech that never feels complex and traits of characteristics that feels forced or shoehorned in to make for uncomfortable viewing.