- David Laing
- 9 August 2007
This article is from 2007.
Great War memories
The idea that war can be glorious has long since been purged, and yet the lessons of the past seem not to have been learned. For over ninety years now, World War One should have been used as an example of the human cost of conflict, yet wars continue still, and the voices of the past lie unremembered by many.
Based on Max Arthur’s collection of World War One testimonies, Malcolm McKay’s excellent stage adaptation sees four war veterans and a female civilian survivor (Belinda Lang) recounting their tragic tales at the Imperial War Museum. The view of the war differs depending on each point of view, ranging from Private Harris (Matthew Kelly) to Captain Newton (Rupert Frazer), all combining to form a moving narrative.
McKay’s simple and engaging direction allows the seemingly timeless original words to convey all the emotion of those who fought in, or lost someone to, the Great War. Seamless interweaving of the separate accounts provides a stirring and frank account of the major events of the war; from signing up, to the unofficial Christmas armistice, through the battle of the Somme, to the mud of Flanders. Charmingly warm humour from the compelling Matthew Kelly provides a little relief from the many poignant and emotional moments supplied by the impressive cast, as the very real human cost of all such wars is driven home by the words of those left behind.
n Assembly@George St, 623 3030, until 27 Aug (not 7,14), 12.00pm, £12.50-£15.