Brighton Fringe Review – Nylons
‘Nylons’ is the story of one woman torn between her love for her mother, and American Airman Sid. Set in the backdrop of World War Two, it is an enlightening tale of the everyday reality of London East Enders. The new story is presented by ‘Jump Through Hoops Theatre‘, who received two double four star reviews in Fringe 2012.
Writer and producer Jane Elizabeth Callan plays lead character Kath, a young woman emotionally divided between her devotion to her single mother Gladys, and the excitement of finding hope in between bomb raids.
Performed at the Brighton Rep Theatre in The Globe’s basement, the confined audience feels a sense of affinity with the characters as they face the claustrophobia of the bomb shelter. The soundtrack of explosions coupled with traditional songs of war time really brings a sense of the Blitz to Brighton Fringe.
Sid, played by Karl Kennedy-Williams, and factory-worker Kath, give a believable depiction of the fervour of a new relationship fractured by the disheartening reality of death and destruction shrouding their happiness. Mother Gladys, portrayed by Helen Pepper-Smith, demonstrates emotionally the fear of being left alone that was so evident in wartime Britain.
The strength of loyalty between the two female characters is seen through Kath’s difficult decision: should she follow her heart to America, or stay true to her roots in East London? Gladys’s explosive bitterness towards men and foul-mouthed tirades act as a front to the deeper familial ties. The subtle dialogue leaves a subtext that for this mother, to lose her daughter would be to lose everything.
‘Nylons’ is a bittersweet story of love, loyalty and loss. Its humour, and many moments of joy truly illuminate the darkness of life on the Home Front. Overall, it demonstrates the extent to which the people of Britain did not surrender their hope in the face of destruction.
WORDS by Rosie Murphy