Focusing on occupied Guernsey in 1943, Gabriel is the story of widower and mother Jeanne who does whatever it takes to keep her family safe on an island filled with constant danger. Commander Von Pfunz is forever present in Jeanne's farmhouse and his romantic advances are maybe the only way to keep her teenager daughter Estelle and her daughter-in-law Lily safe. But things are made more tense when Lily finds a mysterious young man washed up on the beach, with no way to identify if he is English or German, and with no memory of who he is, she and Estelle nurture him back to health. Desperate for him to be his friend, he is given the name Gabriel and an unlikely romance blossoms. Fluent in German and English, is he an RAF pilot, an SS interrogator, a local boy with amnesia or a saviour sent from heaven?
Paul McGann's Von Pfunz is both terrifying and charming; with his love for poetry perhaps there is more to him then first realised until it is clear that what inspires him are the death camps and the horrors that are contained within them. Belinda Lang is elegant and feisty as Jeanne and holds her family together whatever the cost.
This is an interesting part of history and explores what happened to ordinary families caught up on an island that the war cabinet decided was of no strategic importance and Guernsey was demilitarised. It looks at the relationships that women on the island found themselves in to ensure that their families were kept together and safe.
Its impossible not be moved by this play as the tension that builds up throughout has you at the edge of your seat and there are sterling performances from all. A strong production throughout with an impressive set by Carla Goodman and under the directorship of Kate McGregor, this is a play that has you at the very start.