Brighton Fringe 2007
Carol Cleveland – War Baby
Carol Cleveland in association with Icarus Theatre
Venue: Belgrave Hotel
Festival: Brighton Fringe
An informative and moving account of a family at war.
In this dramatised reading of ‘Baby’s Diary’, the audience is successfully taken back to a bygone era. Set during the second World War; Carol Cleveland is the War Baby telling the story of her parents through diary extracts written to her by them just before her birth and continuing until she reached the age of 5. After a slightly rushed introduction (which I put down to nerves) Carol’s delivery was evocative of the time and I felt I really was hearing her mothers voice. The characters of both her parents came across clearly in both the writing and the way they were portrayed, especially when her father – a conscientious objector who spent time in prison for his convictions – appears on film, talking about the futility of war. At one point, Carol read an extract from her mother that was extremely moving and quite unexpected which clearly stirred up feelings in the audience. For most of the performance, Carol was sat in a chair with a standard lamp. While this worked, I would like to have seen the lights in the room turned off. The lamplight itself would have created a more dramatic and inimate atmosphere. The use of a projector and slides, I believe, could have been used to greater effect and a live musician playing keyboards, although well played, occasionally distracted from the flow of the piece. Despite the above shortcomings, it was an engaging and moving evening, that deserved a larger audience.