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Theatre Industry Reviews

Told through narration, the songs of the period and war poetry, this is an emotive piece that is both of that period of history and a tribute to the RAF personnel who served so heroically … Darlow is to be applauded for preserving their experiences and bringing them to a wider audience in a unique way that beautifully represents the period and honours the men and women whose service and sacrifice were integral to the war effort. Definitely a not-to-be-missed production. (★★★★★ North West End UK)

Real tales of real people, reminding us that while we may look back on that period and see wall-to-wall heroes, they were all individuals with the same hopes, dreams, and fears as everyone else, and this production does well to bring their humanity back into focus … I have to say how impressed I was with the eight-strong cast. (★★★★ LondonTheatre1)

Essentially this play is a celebration of forgotten heroes, told in their own words. The tales they tell are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant and always brave. Steve Darlow’s play cleverly interlaces their stories with iconic songs of the time … Joe Malyan’s direction was wonderfully imaginative … The excellent ensemble playing of the cast was beautiful to watch, as they seamlessly transitioned from one story to the next. (★★★★ London Pub Theatres)

Steeped in historical research, first-hand experiences, and some harrowing insights into the dreadful atrocities … a fantastic display of uniforms, European hats, and period outfits … Dangerous missions, deadly sunrises, and unchartered territories map out on stage. (★★★★

Their Finest Hour is an absorbing piece of drama that never forgets the human toll behind the glamour of the dashing uniform … an earnest and beautifully performed show. (British Theatre Guide)

A myriad of mediums weave together to give a gripping insight into life and often death in the Royal Air Force … The ensemble do a fantastic job in portraying over one hundred characters … Anne Thomson’s impressive costume design … The sound design fills the play with the bangs and crackle of warfare but it is Lyndon Baines’s lighting design that packs a punch. (★★★ Longstaff Reviews)

It has a solemn sentimentality about the men and women it represents but Darlow’s wide-ranging research and approaches to dramatisation provide some momentum … an enjoyable narrative history … fascinating to hear about their exploits. (★★★ The Reviews Hub)

An interesting and moving account of RAF involvement in WWII, using verbatim narratives, contemporary songs and poetry. (★★★ Everything Theatre)

Historian Reviews

It made great play with language, the songs & poetry of the day, chairs, hats, and my emotions. Hugely recommended. Clare Mulley (author of ‘The Women Who Flew for Hitler’, ‘The Spy Who Loved’, and ‘The Woman Who Saved the Children’)

A truly fantastic production which I enjoyed immensely. Book your tickets, people, and you’ll have a great evening! Andy Saunders (Historic aviation consultant, author, TV & film contributor, founder/editor ‘Iron Cross’ magazine)

Memorable and moving play – added poignancy with music, poetry and song. Strong writing and a talented cast of many characters and costumes. Alison Hill (author of ‘Pauline Gower, Pioneering Leader of the Spitfire Women’)

February 2020 Audience Feedback

The show was wonderful! The direction was so creative and the story so well told! My Dad loved it and remained hankie in hand for most of the show! ‘

‘We were blown away by the show … it will stand the test of time … most fabulous piece of theatre and history.’

‘Brilliant story telling from a fantastic cast … clever and creative re-enactments … with a lovely sound track and humour to boot! ‘

‘So clever a play and brilliantly directed and acted. Should be compulsory viewing for schools!!’

‘Very cleverly done and such amazing and unbelievable stories!’

‘We watched this amazing show last night. The most wonderful theatrical performance I’ve ever seen. I hope it lives on and many more get to experience it.’

June 2019 Reviews and Audience Feedback

Terry Adlam, Maidenhead Advertiser. Highlighting the role the RAF played in the Second World War, and taken from first-hand recollections from those who served, Writer, Steve Darlow, Director, Joe Malyan, Producer, Auriole Wells and an exceptional cast and production crew produced a powerful and entertaining piece of verbatim theatre. In the intimate surrounding of The Studio Theatre, I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and was amazed at the creativity used that saw everyday objects and furniture transform into, for example, Spitfires and Lancasters bombers. Equally, Malyan and his team excelled in original reconstructions of famous air campaigns and battles. The cast of nine portrayed over 100 roles, slipping in and out of characters with consummate ease and skill, with moving monologues, speeches, poetry and songs from the era. In the week that commemorated the Normandy landings 75 years ago, this was a fitting theatrical tribute and like ‘The Few’, will be remembered by me.

Angie Burns. As I took my seat in the Studio Theatre, I was embraced by a very effective, intimate set, displaying artefacts, props and wartime memorabilia. Already I felt in the moment. With a small cast of 9 actors, portraying over 100 roles, with their own storytelling, I have to say I was truly moved and at times quite choked up listening to their incredible accounts and experiences. With small interludes of song and movement which were chosen so appropriately for those particular scenes, the cast defiantly portrayed their characters well with real emotion and conviction. I watched other members of the audience be taken on an incredible journey. The creative use of props e.g. torch lights to create the shadows of aircraft, chairs grouped together with actors portraying a flight mission, were only a few of the many other creative scenes I witnessed … Congratulations to everyone involved and I really do hope this is not the last time we see ‘Their Finest Hour’. I would like to read of its’ success showing in other parts of the UK.

Audience feedback.

‘Absolutely brilliant! What a journey it takes you on!’

‘A really engaging and moving show.’

‘A beautiful and emotional piece.’

‘A truly magnificent show.’

‘Honoured to have seen it. Gripping and emotional, not to mention technically challenging! Should be mandatory viewing!’

‘Loved it!! Great stage presence and loved the use of so many props!!’

‘I loved it, beautifully performed and directed.’

‘A fantastic evening. I need to see it again at some point to take more stories in. There was so much to see, hear and experience.’

‘What a great show – a story that needs to be passed on!’

‘Brilliant production on every level – fascinating, detailed, thought provoking.’

‘A beautiful and powerful piece of theatre … They bring the brave voices of the incredible men and women of 75 years ago to the stage in a touching and educational experience.’

‘A wonderful piece showing what the airmen and all involved went through. Amazing direction and acting.’