In the first professional production of a Windows since 1922, Project One Theatre Company have managed to create a show that is as relevant today as it was back when it was first performed. Set post-war in a wealthy house in Highgate, London, it is reminiscent of JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls, in that it questions the morals of the middle class when faced with truths of the working class.
Perfectly suited to a cosy, in-the-round auditorium with a gorgeous set by Alex Marker, the production casts a fly on the wall view on a moral dilemma faced by the March family.
It appears that the grown-up son, Jonny, played by Duncan Moore is a changed man since returning from the war, and this provokes thoughts of how much Britain and all those who lived through it, went through. The man of the house, Geoffrey March (David Shelley) has a lot to say on the government, definitely something that resonates today. He and his window cleaner, the well-educated and opinionated Mr Bly discuss how the working class are treated by both the law and the government.
The working class in this production are portrayed by Janet Amsden as the cook, Vincent Brimble as Mr Bly and Charlotte Brimble as his daughter, the troubled young girl given the chance to become something more than she is. But is that really what she needs, or wants? Society has always been very good at either pretending to know exactly what people want, or stubbornly refusing to acknowledge it. This play casts a light on the troubles with both. The stereotypical, yet true, portrayals of the classes are very clear, yet never overplayed.
Charlotte Brimble’s character - Faith - is discussed in great detail before she even makes an appearance, so it is pleasing when she fully embodies the idea already conjured up with great emotional range and a believable journey throughout.
Eleanor Sutton does a lovely job as Mary March - the same age as Faith yet a completely different upbringing, it's very interesting to see the way the two of them behave around each other.
With any play in the round, it's especially important to keep up the small details and background acting, as that is where the audience's eyes roam to, when other actors' backs are to them. All the cast kept this up, and it helped create that all important feeling of inclusion.
Being three short acts in format, the audience have two intervals during which to think over what has been happening, and start to wonder which way the story is going to turn. John Galsworthy’s script keeps the audience on their toes in a subtle way, but two sudden entrances by new characters in the last scene throws it all off balance a little. It’s a strange sort of climax but the actors carry it through and make it work, generally rounding it all off very neatly.
All in all, this is a very well-rehearsed and performed play, and a delight to watch. It certainly stirred up passion in the actors and a lot of the audience, but it’s also quite matter of fact, too. A pleasant watch for an evening, and very enjoyable.
Presented by Project One in association with Neil McPherson for Finborough Theatre
H. Hemming is a professional actress writing under a pseudonym.