Details

Oh What a Lovely War archiveComic expose of the savage futility of war in general and the First World War in particular.' Your Country Needs You' - The rallying call for a generation to do their patriotic duty and fight for king and country. A slogan which resonates with bitter futility for doomed youth who fought and died in the Great War, which claimed 10 million lives and left twice that number wounded and maimed. Oh What a Lovely War tells the story of this defining event of the 20th century through songs, sketches and period newsreel. A rousing musical, presented as a music hall revue, this highly charged satire on war and its horror is, in turns, brilliantly comic and deeply moving.
Performers Christine Absalom, Ignatius Anthony, Tim Freeman, Graeme Du Fresne, Clare Humphrey, Ben Livingstone, Andrew Lovern, Andrew Maud, Mark Roper, Nix Rosewarne, Shuna Snow, Katy Stephens, Dale Superville, Tim Treslove.
Author Joan Littlewood. Producer Mercury Theatre. Director Janice Dunn. Director Graeme Du Fresne (music). Design Jessica Curtis. Lighting Oliver Fenwick.

Oh What a Lovely War

Oh What a Lovely War (Musical) production archive for QTIX code T1342260291. Details of all Oh What a Lovely War archived productions can be found under the QTIX code: S1627

Archive Listings

25 Sep 03
to
11 Oct 03
Mercury Theatre
Colchester
Essex

User Reviews

UKTW: Robert Iles (02Oct03): Joan Littlewood\'s \'Oh, What a Lovely War!\' always has the potential to be a powerful piece of theatre. By mixing period songs, jokes and World War I statistics and history we are presented with the un-imaginable in a form we can accept. Somehow one feels that a bad production would not only insult the audience but also the over 30 million dead and wounded of the \'War to end all Wars\'. So, whilst it can be immensely enjoyable this is not a piece to take on lightly.

Fortunately, the Mercury Theatre Company, directed by Janice Dunn have done the piece proud and even their opening night, to a packed auditorium, had pace, pathos and moments of real theatricality. The singing and movement were enthusiastic and appropriate to the period and the presence of live musicians on stage was great, indeed the musicians were also part of the acting troupe and several of the other actors stepped in to play instruments - a very versatile ensemble.

The matter of presentation is always an issue with this play. There are many purists that insist that it must be done \"Joan\'s Way\" and that we must be presented with a seamy group of Pierrot\'s doing an end-of-the-pier show and using only minimalist costuming (e.g. appropriate hats) to indicate their roles. This production does not follow those rules and in my opinion this is correct. Times have changed significantly since the show was originally workshopped. There are now very few people who remember the era of 1914-18 and, sadly, few who have even the benefit of handed-down family memories of that era (as the song says, \"we\'ll never tell them, no we\'ll never tell them\") so we cannot assume that the imagery and … will speak directly to today\'s audience, nor should we assume that the audience has studied the original, it is more likely that they have seen the film! Here we have a clean production that uses period costume and feed uniform in slowly until they are in full uniform then edges back into normal clothes as the show finishes. Very effective. Less effective was the replacement of the \'ticker\' information with spoken versions, they were hard to hear and slowed the production down.

The set was superb. It provided the end-of-the-pier feel whilst also providing flexibility that enabled it to become trenches, ballroom and no-mans-land. Indeed, the cast used the whole auditorium well making the space their own.

In all, a good production and a moving evening and such a pleasure to see a regional sell-out!


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