My Darling Clemmie

****
4 stars

Rohan McCullough has the demeanour and calm dignity to convince immediately in the role she plays as Clementine Churchill. Hugh Whitemore’s play charts Clementine’s life story from childhood to Winston Churchill’s death in 1965. This is a huge span of time. Whitemore concentrates on the highs and lows of the Churchill’s long marriage.

Perhaps the greatest high point in her life was the whirlwind romance which led to their marriage, although they did have a cursory meeting 4 years earlier. It is difficult to appreciate when we see archive film of Churchill as an elderly statesman what a catch he was as a young man celebrated as a heroic adventurer with a promising political career ahead of him. Their personal low point was the death of a daughter as a young child towards the end of World War 1.

Throughout the play, under the gentle direction of Gareth Armstrong, it is clear that Clementine had a strong influence on her husband’s political career giving advice and support when needed most. Rohan McCullough’s performance is riveting, lightening the mood with humorous anecdotes whilst also conveying the dark, unhappy periods.

The play, giving insights into the human side of Winston Churchill’s personality through the eyes of his wife and soul partner, is an absorbing experience.

Ben

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