Our Friends, the Enemy (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Our Friends, the Enemy

credit: Hannah Fairclough

Ambitious one-man, spoken-word WWI drama

The spontaneous and unofficial armistice that broke out along the Western Front over Christmas 1914 and briefly interrupted the mechanised bloodshed of the First World War forms the basis of this ambitious one-man, spoken-word show.

The story of the Allied and German troops making friends across No Man’s Land almost one hundred years ago is such an inspiring example of the essential decency of the ordinary man that it has been told many times before, in film, documentary, and fiction. This paired-down production attempts a sweeping look up and down the line from both the Allied and German perspectives. It’s a bold storytelling gambit, and if the show doesn’t quite work – it lacks dramatic focus – it’s not for a deficiency of ambition.

Nevertheless, there are several nicely observed vignettes: enemy soldiers sending one another Christmas cards wrapped around rocks; empathising about the scourge of lice; decorating their trenches with bauble-festooned trees; and, most famously, playing soccer with one another. It doesn’t all come together, but there are few dull moments.

theSpace@Surgeon’s Hall, 510 2384, until 24 Aug (not 4, 11, 18), 6.05pm, £8 (£7).

Our Friends, The Enemy

  • 3 stars
  • Directed by: Tom O'Brien
  • Written by: Alex Gwyther

A theatrical story combined with spoken word and poetry set during the First World War's Christmas truce.