Oh, What A Lovely War!: Whitstable Times Review
“The Lindley Players did not disappoint…”
Original Article by Scarlet Jones, Whitstable Times – Wednesday 11 June 2014
With the centenary of the start of the First World War this year, there was no better choice of play than this for The Lindley Players.
Remembering those who gave their lives in WW1 is getting harder as generations, born too late to know the horrors of being at war, struggle to empathise but this production offers a very effective way to bridge that ever-widening gap. Oh What a Lovely War was created by Joan Littlewood and the members of the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1963. It takes a satirical look at WW1 and the audience sees from the beginning battles and the optimism felt, through to the bitter end as the death toll rose to staggering numbers.
Like the original version, this show directed by Peter Hunt and Peter Bressington is presented by a Pierrot troupe in a nod to the style of tragic-comedy entertainers who used to perform at the British soldiers’ concert parties.
The audience sees the cast chop and change into different characters and show off their versatility by switching accents – and languages- throughout.
Song plays a huge part in the production; music hall tunes featuring lyrics put together by soldiers expressing the reality of war are delivered with emotion and moves the audience smoothly along from a cheeky sing-along one moment to heart-break and harmonies.
The stage setting, aside from a band situated towards the back, is kept plain and is brought to life through projections and lighting. The projections serve not only to set the scenes, but also really bring home the points delivered through the acting by displaying original photos of soldiers and statistics, such as “Sept 25… Loos… British loss 8,236 men in 3 hours… German Loss NIL”.
Maybe because of the anniversary, and because so many millions died during WWI, it was crucial that the delivery of this iconic production was good – and the Lindley Players did not disappoint in this bold move.
This fantastic performance was delivered with enough levity to bring laughs and yet still drive home the central message of the abhorrence of war. Superb.
Oh, What A Lovely War! at the Playhouse Theatre Whitstable
Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 June 2014
Evening Performances: 7.45pm
Box Office 01227 272042 or visit www.playhousewhitstable.co.uk