Blonde Bombshells of 1943
Because it’s based on recreated and imagined history, the peculiar emotion of nostalgia is something anyone, even people who weren’t there, can indulge in. Alan Plater’s World War Two-set Blonde Bombshells of 1943, originally devised by Plater as the television series The Last of the Blonde Bombshells, seems to have played with distinction to a surprisingly broad range of the UK’s population since its debut at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2004.
The plot of this touring version features a storyline, quite different from the television series, with endless farcical possibilities. In it, an all girl band have been depleted in number by the sexual marauding of American GIs at bases they’ve played across the UK. Last minute replacements are sought for a major BBC gig from whoever is available. ‘They finish up getting a schoolgirl, a nun, an upper class tart and a man willing to don a frock,’ explains Aussie actress Andrea Getley, who plays May, the seasoned and sarcastic pianist.
Getley considers Plater’s writing as a major strength of the production: ‘It’s so entertaining, so clever and quick – that’s the thing about it, it’s so fast the audience don’t get time to be bored. People come out beaming, it’s very uplifting, even if there’s a hint of more serious things going on. It’s the lighter side of the hell that was going on. It shows that when things are really grim, people are still able to have a good time.’