Tue 7 – Sat 11 Apr
Thur & Sat mats 2.30pm
The opening scenes brought laughter from the audience. These were of the halcyon days of Edwardian England before the outbreak of World War I in August 1914. In those days Brighton’s two piers had music hall theatres augmenting the shows performed at the Theatre Royal.
Times were of gaiety and saucy, bright costumes. Laughter was everywhere. The show perfectly creates that happy seaside summer of so long ago. The story then moves to the Great Game being played out between Europe’s rulers over little known Serbia. Someone is shot! Everyone is mobilising! The lights are going out over Europe.
The show splits into two halves. During the first there is a colourful gaiety to war as if it is all a big adventure with pretty girls chivvying the boys to join up and do their bit. The reality of war is brought home with the frightful casualty numbers and poignant scenes of the wounded arriving at Waterloo with only transport waiting for the officers.
Oh What A Lovely War was first performed in 1963, the creation of Joan Littlewood, which evolved from a collection of First World War soldiers’ songs. Littlewood was barred from the BBC during WWII because of her communist sympathies, and these come though in the play. The second half while depicting the horrors of war also lam-blasts the officer caste, the majority of whom were wiped out during the course of the war.
The acting is first rate throughout. A must for all those who want to remember past heroes, and those who want to see a jolly fine play. Lots of clapping throughout and the chance to join in singing the old tunes of so long ago.
Following a sold out run in spring 2014, Terry Johnson’s hit revival of OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR vists Theatre Royal Brighton from Tuesday 7 – Saturday 11 April as part of a national tour.
OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR, a satirical musical about World War I, originally premiered at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1963. Joan Littlewood adapted the play from Charles Chilton’s work for radio through her company Theatre Workshop. It was an immediate hit, transferring to the West End in June 1963, opening on Broadway in 1964 and receiving four Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.
The musical is packed with familiar songs from the World War I era including It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Pack up Your Troubles and Keep the Home Fires Burning. The songs are performed against a projected backdrop of images and shocking statistics conveying the harsh realities of war.
Ian Reddington (Eastenders, Coronation Street) and Christopher Villiers (Emmerdale) will join Wendi Peters, best known for her role as Cilla Battersby in Coronation Street, in the ensemble cast. Alongside her screen work, Wendi is in much demand as a stage actress with recent credits including White Christmas at the Lowry, Manchester, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood at the Arts Theatre, West End and most recently Rutherford & Son for Northern Broadsides on National Tour.
Ian Reddington is one of very few actors to have played major roles in Eastenders and Coronation Street, alongside his many stage credits. He played Richard ‘Tricky Dickie’ Cole in Eastenders, and hapless drummer Vernon Tomlin in Coronation Street.
His stage credits include the 1979 production of Oh What A Lovely War! At the Bristol Old Vic, as well as The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, The Shepherd’s Play, Piaf, Wild Oats and Once in a Lifetime, all for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Other credits include Dead Funny (Hampstead / West End), The Woman in Black, Our House, We Will Rock You (West End), Hamlet (Oxford Stage Company) and Hangover Square (Lyric Hammersmith).
Christopher Villiers’ credits include three years in Emmerdale as Grayson Sinclair, as well as Hobson’s Choice, Twelfth Night, The Winslow Boy (Bolton Octagon), An Ideal Husband (Royal and Derngate, Northampton), and Entertaining Mr Sloane (national tour). Screen credits include Hetty Feather (BBC TV), Vera (ITV) and Father Brown (BBC TV).
Terry Johnson has won nine British theatre awards including Olivier Awards for Best Comedy and Playwright of the Year. In 2010 he won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles. His theatre credits as both director and writer are prolific including End of the Rainbow (2010-11) which was nominated for three Olivier Awards, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (2009) and most recently Hysteria (2012) with Antony Sher.
Ensemble cast includes: Emma Crossley, Marcus Ellard, Alex Giannini, Richard Glaves, Lauren Hood, Alice Bailey Johnson, William Oxborrow, Mark Prendergast, Neil Stewart and Bleu Woodward.
0844 871 7650*
*bkg fees apply