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Friday, 30 May 2014

Act Of War

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and those terible four years of battle with soldiers stuck fighting in trenches around France.

This horror of this time was brought to life tonight with the Nottingham Playhouse Youth Theatre's production of 'All Quiet on the Western Front' at the rather unusual, but very atmospheric old Barton's bus garage in Chilwell, and is part of the NEAT14 festival.

The play is based on the 1929 book of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque and has been adapted by Robin Kingsland. He was actually in the audience to see how the first night went and the audience's reaction to the unfolding tale.

He didn't have to worry at all, as the young cast did an excellent job of portraying people of the same age who had to face death, injury and destruction on a daily basis. To show that these soldiers were still  basically of school age, they carried large T squares and rulers instead of guns.

What makes the story really poignant, is it is told through the eyes of the German side. How they were just ordinary schoolboys like the English 'Tommys', and who had been encouraged to enlist and fight for their fatherland, but they didn't really know what they were fighting for.

The final scene is quite profound, and there was an almost stunned silence when the lights finally went out, and before the applause started.

The play runs until Sunday and is well worth seeing. But if you do, take your own cushion, as the old wooden seats available are very hard.