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Oh What a Lovely War!

Oh What a Lovely War!
Theatre Royal Youth Company at The Garage, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 5 December 2014

The Garage is an ideal setting for this Youth Company and Joan Littlewood’s ironic classic a perfect vehicle in this WW1 centenary.

That it shocks while it entertains is a testament equally to the devised material from 1963, looking back on 1914-18 through eyes that had experienced 1939-45 and to the skill of this young ensemble.

Brechtian-style information slides drive home the futility of trench warfare with losses on a jaw dropping scale. The pierrot show format gives the humour full rein and original wartime songs make it a variety show with a compelling message.

I’ll Make a Man of Any One of You, Hitchy-Koo, Goodbyee, Gassed Last Night, Kaiser Bill, They Were Only Playing Leapfrog, When This Lousy War Is Over and the title song are a selection of danced and sung numbers which push the narrative along.

Whether they are playing the stuffed shirts of the officer class, ‘the donkeys’, ground troops, ‘the lions’ or the myriad of other cameos this show demands, they tackle them with enthusiasm, energy and much talent.

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