Letters to Aberlour (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Letters to Aberlour

Poignant First World War tale that takes too long to tell

Many works of theatre, literature and television have explored the impact of the First World War, looking at it from the angle of family. Letters to Aberlour, however, examines what happens when soldiers don't have a family to write back to.

It tells the story of over 200 'old boys' from the Aberlour Orphanage, who signed up to fight during WWI. Over 60 of them were killed, but their experiences, thoughts and feelings live on in the letters they sent back to the orphanage. This sensitive and thought-provoking play uses those letters to create a strong wartime narrative of quiet power, which is done justice here by New Strides Theatre.

At an hour and fifty minutes however, the story does feel a little overstretched. Where the play succeeds is in its ability to create intimate moments with the audience, rooted in the private memories of the soldiers whose stories it is telling. By extending this to just under two hours, it lacks some dramatic urgency, and at times, runs the risk of losing the audience's attention.

That said, this production combines a poignant, powerful story with strong performances, and for those with an interest in war-themed material, it’s well worth your time.

Central Hall, 228 4249, until 31 Aug, 8.30pm, £12 (£8).

Letters to Aberlour

  • 3 stars

Two hundred boys from Aberlour Orphanage went to WWI. Letters written to the only home they knew are woven into a compelling narrative about the extraordinary extended family created by the orphanage.