The Pentabus Rural Theatre Company production The Lone Pine Club, based on the books by Malcolm Saville, is reviewed for the Guardian today by Lyn Gardner:
The children make dens, swear oaths of loyalty, travel widely across the UK on their own, make up secret signals, solve mysteries, uncover spies and generally get the better of the baddie, Miss Ballinger, a woman whose generosity with chocolate fudge cake is never to be trusted. ,,,
If the lack of a focus on a single adventure can make it feel a bit episodic and lacking in real tension, the show is fast paced with an unexpectedly moving payoff when the reason for the framing device becomes apparent...Beware of a spoiler at this point in the review.
The play can be seen at three more National Trust venues this summer:
- 6-9 August - Buckland Abbey, Garden and Estate, Yelverton, Devon
- 13-16 August - Sheringham Park, Upper Sheringham, Norfolk
- 20-23 August - Wallington, Cambo (near Morpeth) Northumberland
Oh and the subeditor who described the play as conveying "the spirit of Enid Blyton" should be Spoken To.
As I once wrote for the Guardian:
Her characters were wooden, her plots slapdash and her settings – generic ruined castles and spooky old houses – were like a Hollywood set; look round the back and you could see the struts holding up the painted hardboard.
To make something interesting of her tales you had to read between the lines. In the Adventure series, for instance, the children are constantly left in peril far from home because Mrs Mannering is clearly having an affair with the shadowy policeman Bill Cunningham and wants them out of the way.
Blyton was not helped by the illustrator of her most popular series. The Famous Five were made to resemble enthusiastic members of the Hitler Youth. Julian, in particular, looked capable of ordering the burning of the entire village if the tea he and his chums were offered did not come up to scratch.