Review: Kisses on a Postcard (audio musical)

Terence Frisby’s memoir with music by Gordon Clyde, Martin Wheatley and others, and lyrics by Dominic Frisby, Gordon Clyde and others is the story of wartime evacuees in Cornwall from the perspective of young Terry.

Streaming in two versions, a concept album at two hours available for free, and a four hour one for purchase, this is an episodic piece which can be enjoyed in short bursts between 20-40 minutes each.

The title, Kisses on a Postcard comes from the way Terry (7) and Jack (11) have agreed to communicate with their mother back home; the number of kisses indicating whether or not all is well.

A largely narrative piece which takes the listener back to the days of bombs, steam, and “topping and tailing”, the play works perfectly in an audio setting, with strong acting from both adult and juvenile cast members.

It’s a definite family show, large on comedy and with well-defined stereotypes from the singing Welsh soldiers to the cheery “Aunt Rose” who takes in the young brothers. It does not shy away from poignancy, but it recognises it from a child’s perspective.

Premiered first as a stage production at the Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple, in 2004, under the title Just Remember Two Things; Kisses on a Postcard is also a successful book, published in 2008.

Rather sentimental, this musical boasts a fifty-strong cast led by John Owen Jones, Katy Secombe and Marcia Warren, with Lance Ellington and Simon Thomas. The music is often drawn from other sources and popular melodies; the mood upbeat.

Singing cheerily about “outside lavs” and other hardships of the time or finding out the attraction of girls, the child actors (Brandon McGuiness as Terry, Frankie Joel-Celoni) are sprightly, while the adults get into the spirit of things.

Kisses on a Postcard is a lovely hybrid between audiobook and theatre experience, and is available on all audio platforms now. Check out both versions on Bandcamp (£16 for the full-length show).