They Came To A City by J B Priestley - directed by Angela Gee
"Social Justice is not a fashionable concept these days, but in the darkest years of the last war, our greatest writers were keen to visualize what utopia might rise from the ashes.
In Priestley's intriguing period piece, nine characters from all ranks of 1940s society, with their jealousies, frustrations and disappointments, are shown a shining city; they may choose to stay or return to their earthly lives. The capitalist and the aristocrat are amongst those who leave, the char and the heiress amongst those who remain.
In Angela Gee's production, the nobility were less convincing generally than the plebs. Fine character work from Syd Smith and Tricia Childs as a henpecked banker and his domineering wife, and from Helen Langley as the salt-of-the-earth char.
What Priestley is advocating, of course, is that we take the vision of the city where "men don't work for machines and money" back to our imperfect world, building a new Jerusalem in place of the dark Satanic mills. And it is left to mechanic Joe [well portrayed by Andy Millward] and shopgirl Alice [the Googie Withers role excellently done by Jean Speller] to leave us on that optimistic note.
But despite the NHS and the Welfare State and Comprehensive Education, I suspect that, seventy years on, Joe and Alice have still much work to do to make Whitman's Great City a reality."
Michael Gray-Weekly News