O What a Lovely War
25th October 2014
The New Bradford Playhouse
Type of Production
Author: Judith Smith
This was a very brave attempt by The Bradford Players to put on a relatively difficult show and, to an extent, they were very successful. The cast of 17 players did their utmost to portray all the various characters of the story, with all their different foreign accents, and to an extent, they succeeded but they were outplayed by the orchestra/band who were, for most of the performance, far too raucously loud to allow the cast’s attempts to be heard either to sing, or to speak, particularly over the underscoring, thus the quality of vocal reproduction, in some of the songs, was spoiled by the actors efforts to shout to be heard. The sound effects of rifle shots and bombs were too overpowering and deafening in their volume – was this an attempt to give the audience a taste of the horror of what it was really like to be in the trenches or was it that the sound was really too loud for the theatre and the comfort if the audience?? The lighting was not good and very patchy with many of the cast playing ‘in the dark’ as their faces were totally unlit.
There were however some excellent performances to be seen, particularly from Richard Barran, Paul Growcoot, Christopher Stewart, Charlie Vincent, Tammie Butterworth, Rita Cook and Jen White. The costumes were well devised but in Act II the lack of evidence of the ‘Pierrot’ costumes rather overlooked the comedy of the piece. The costumes however were well designed and were of an excellent fit. Make up and hairstyles for the ladies were also good and very true to the date of the show. The scenery was very appropriate although, from the centre of the house, I do not expect to be able to see quite so easily into the wings!!
This sounds a damning critique but, I very much enjoyed this production, with its many interesting, picturesque cast formations and characterisations. What a pity that, with a few minor alterations this would have been a stupendous show.