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Review of The Evacuee at The Chelsea Theatre

THE EVACUEEThe Chelsea Theatre plays host to Ian Breeds’ hour-long play, The Evacuee, which is delightfully spooky, intimate and engaging throughout.

Janet, an innocent and troubled evacuee is shipped over to be taken care of by George Wilson, a lonely widower and War enthusiast. The two were bought together through Brenda, who is an old friend of George’s and the local billeting officer. Strange things happen in the house after the introduction of Janet and we dive deeper into the history of George and Brenda through this young, innocent evacuee

Walking into the auditorium was a terrifying experience itself. Smoky haze, gunshots and bomb sounds do not make for a pleasant entry. The show took its time providing some context and very gradually became spookier and scarier. The paranormal occurrences were old fashioned but bloody exciting; the radio turning itself on, the chairs moving around “invisibly”, the cupboards and draws opening. All were situated excellently and you could never predict what was going to happen next. The gradual nature meant that along with Janet, the audience became more and more anxious as the play went on. Without a doubt the stand-out moment was the mirror scene.

George and Brenda’s relationship was portrayed well and as melodramatic as some of their moments were, you could feel a real tension between them both, based on their dark past. I felt that there could have been more done with Janet and her story; the voiceover letter from her Mother was a little awkward and hard to empathize with. That being said, Maria Eugenio did very well with her expression and body language. Her performance was silent yet deadly and her humming will long remain in my ears. Both Mike Evans and Sarah Shaw do a good job as George and Brenda and the chemistry between the two was steadfast.

The Evacuee CastI wish I could post a picture of the set on here, because it was [simply] genius. The beautiful decoration of George’s house was realistic, humble and aesthetically pleasing and gave a great insight into how homes were designed in the World War II era. You are warned before-hand that there will be loud noises and moments of pitch-black darkness, so make sure you’re prepared for both.

The Evacuee was one of the most enjoyable nights I’ve had in the city for a while. It’s on at the cool and trendy Chelsea Theatre. The closest stations are Sloane Square and Earls Court and from there it’s a very simple 10-minute bus journey. I guarantee that just like me, you’ll end up having a great time and will be in for a genuinely scary theatrical experience. I’m sleeping with my door wide open tonight…

Review by Sahil Jon

The Evacuee
Set in the autumn of 1940, THE EVACUEE is a classic ghost story of a girl who is evacuated out of London and sent to live with a complete stranger. It is late evening and Janet Young, who has not spoken a word since witnessing the death of her brother during the Blitz, has arrived at widower George Wilson’s home, accompanied by her compassionate billeting officer, Brenda. Upset, lonely and frightened of her surroundings, Janet explores her new bedroom. Spooked
by the eerie contents, Janet rushes to bed and waits for morning…

Over the next few days, we see the stresses of war take its toll on all three of our characters, turning each of their worlds upside down. As unexplained events and strange goings on happen within the house, George’s dark and disturbing past is brought to light…

Quint-Essential Theatre Company was founded in 2011 by Ian Breeds and Sarah Tyler Shaw.
7 World’s End Place, UK, London
Telephone: 020 7352-1967

29th October – Sunday 17th November
Tuesday – Saturday at  8pm, Sundays at 4pm and Wednesday matinees at 2pm
Ages 14+

Author

  • Sahil Jon

    Sahil has studied theatre from the age of 6. Being born and raised in London has helped educate him along the way. A keen Manchester United supporter, dancer and writer. Follow on Twitter: @Sahil_Jon

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