In this 100th Anniversary week of Armistice Day on November 11th 1918, On The Floor Theatre Company are presenting a timely and, at times, thought provoking piece that mixes sketches and poetry to show the journey from the outbreak of war in 1914 to then final end of the bloody conflict.
Presented in a very simple staging that allows the text and stories to come to the fore, each of the performers, James Edge, Victoria Piper, Tom Silverton and Tonia Staite act with great conviction and sincerity for the stories they are telling.
The overall effect was a little haphazard however, with the few attempts at comedy falling rather flat, and a rather off-putting moment of physical theatre while one performer was reciting Rupert Brookes’ beautiful The Soldier. The sketches in the very short first half felt like they often ended as they were just getting going. The second half was far more effective, with one monologue of a soldier in a trench, delivered by Edge, and a duologue between a mother and son (Piper and Silverton) particularly affecting.
I would have loved to have known more about the sources of these stories (especially the Elephant story) and how the show was put together by writer / director Matthew Tweedale. I do hope this, and other pieces like this, have a life beyond this month, especially in schools, as these are stories that need to still be told and remembered.
A Journey Through War is at the Blue Orange Theatre until Saturday 10th November. Evening performances at 7.30, Saturday Matinee at 3.30.
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