More than a quarter of a century on, and the true story of Lily Litvik, who marked her kills with white roses on her aeroplane's tail, remains a fascinating look at a piece of hidden history, as well as a metaphor for a gender war that continues.
It opens with Lily and her engineer friend Ina drafted in to sex-up recruitment films. It ends with Lily grounded for a final time. In between we see her square up to an all-male world without compromising her faith in a greater cause. Lesley Harcourt's Lily is a driven young woman who knows what she wants and usually gets it. When that comes to her flight commander Alexei, the age-old ideological contradictions between the personal and the political come to the fore as even love becomes part of the struggle.
Richard Baron's long overdue revival of the play for the Borders-based Firebrand company flits between intimate naturalistic exchanges and more choreographed out-front addresses from Alison O'Donnell's Ina and Robert Jack's Alexei that resemble heroic social-realist posters come to life. The projections on to Edward Liscomb's set of symmetrical steel lockers flanking the stage add to the effect.
Seen today, White Rose is a play that looks back twice, first to the play's setting, then to the time it was written. Crucially, both were periods in history when revolution seemed possible. For Lily, alas, the romantic adventure was over all too soon.