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How It Ended
Written by Susannah Radford   
Published on Tuesday, 19 August 2008

YOU NEED ME have come up with a gem of a story with How it Ended.  Beautifully performed, it tells the tale of a wartime romance that loses its bloom, as it has to survive both domestic and cultural differences.

Lillian, one of five sisters living in Wales during wartime, meets Raymond, a French trainee pilot.  After a swift romance they marry, he leaves to fight in the war - and on his return, a heavily pregnant Lillian and her husband move to France.  

It's a simple story, but the company You Need Me imbue it with a tender substance.  They combine the magical elements of storytelling with the personal tragedy of a domestic drama.  The story is told economically, almost factually, accompanied with music and a few props.  Being performed in the round in such a small space as C Cubed intensifies the intimacy of the audience's experience.

It's a touching portrayal of missed connections; everyone reaches out for support, love, understanding and compassion, but nobody quite connects.  This is especially true of Raymond and Lillian.  At one point he reaches out to touch her, but she shrugs him off - the distance between her heart and home is too great a divide.  

It's also a tale of loneliness.  Lillian seeks to escape her bleak existence in Wales, but exchanges it for one that's worse; the loss of four sisters is greater than the solitude endured in a new country with a husband who answers to his mother rather than his wife.  This notion of cultural differences is further enhanced through the use of spoken English and French, demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt the ability of language to simultaneously unite and alienate.   

The cast, particularly the leads, are excellent, and all work to create a show which leaves a soft but indelible impression.  How it Ended is playing at one of the C empire's far flung venues, C cubed, at the top of the Royal Mile.  On the night I saw How It Ended the theatre was very hot - grab some flyers on the Royal Mile while walking to the venue to use as a fan.

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