A family coping with the aftermath of war is explored in Duckegg Theatre’s compelling production, Leave Hitler to Me, Lad, coming to the Arts Theatre, Leicester Square this autumn.
Leave Hitler to Me, Lad tells the untold story of a lost generation of children in the aftermath of WWII.
The drama originally premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe where it was labelled “the most sensitive and well-written family show at the festival.”
The musical, by award-winning playwright Haley Cox and LA composer Ben Pringle, went on to enjoy success with regional audiences during a 2014 tour.
The show began its life as a result of a Research and Development week supported by Arts Council England. The cast has four professional actors (including Louis Labovitch of Stomp and Spotlight Prize nominee James Mountain) with six of the company’s youth theatre members.
The Americana music, composed by Ben Pringle, who is part of cult US band Nerf Herder and is famous for his work on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is a real highlight of the performance.
The production, written by Haley Cox, is based on the real experiences of her father and his school friends during their time at a residential school during and after World War II.
He said: “We didn’t all go back home on trains to London. We didn’t even know what our parents looked like.”
Haley explains: “Though set in the ’50s and the 1970s, the show resonates with a contemporary audience because of its questioning of family values.
“Even the development of the show has been a family affair with Ben, our songwriter, using some of the music his mother wrote in the ’70s in the production and it being based on my father’s story.”
Brian’s Dad is a war hero and he’s coming home any day! He’s been coming home for seven years…
It’s 1952 and the country is rebuilding itself. King George is dead and rock’n’roll is here to stay. Brian builds his own little family at the school with his rabbit Pandy, friends Gladys, an orphan, George, who doesn’t know where his parents are either and Mr Bill, his welfare officer.
Then there is Miss Bates, the headmistress, who rules the school with an iron fist.
The children look forward to sports day – a day off Bates’ rules and sanctions – but heads turn when a glamorous teenager appears to unravel the past and reveal a shocking secret that will turn Brian’s world upside down.
Cast: Louis Labovitch, Rosie Fox, James Mountain, Rachel O’Hare, George Grattage, Amy Leek and Sam Davies.
A spokesman for Duckegg says: “The show is suitable for ages 10+ due to the difficult themes presented.
“We don’t believe in shying away from difficult subjects. The show does not ‘sugar coat’ the content and includes a fight scene, some artificial smoking on stage and references to alcoholism and domestic violence”.
Leave Hitler To Me, Lad plays two warm-up dates, September 17, The Brindley, Runcorn and September 18, The Barn, Kilnsea before moving to the Arts Theatre, London, running from September 28-October 18.