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June 26th - June 30th
By Sebastian Faulks
Presented by Birdsong Productions in association with Original Theatre Company
Marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, Birdsong is the hit, critically acclaimed stage show based on the world famous novel by Sebastian Faulks.
In pre-war France a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their world upside down.
As the war breaks out over the idyll of his former life, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground.
Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle as his world explodes around him.
A mesmerising story of love and courage. Set both before and during the Great War.
The cast will be headed by Tom Kay and Madeleine Knight as Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire. Tom Kay, appeared to great acclaim in a recent production of Journey’s End, performed on a First World War battlefield at Ypres. Madeleine Knight’s television and film credits include Poldark and Florence Foster Jenkins. Also in the cast are Tim Treloar, Olivia Bernstone, Alice Brittain, Alfie Browne-Sykes (recently seen as Jason Roscoe in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks), Martin Carroll, Riley Carter-Millington (Kyle Slater in EastEnders) James Findlay (winner of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2010), Liz Garland, Jeffrey Harmer and Simon Lloyd.
Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
“Faulks’s First World War tale gets the staging it deserves… enough to make me weep.” The Times
“Heartbreakingly beautiful, powerful and poignant. Go see it; it may well be one of the most memorable pieces of theatre you are ever likely to witness.” British Theatre Guide
“A beautiful, yet heart-rending tribute to the millions who have lost their lives to war.” Sunderland Echo
“The performances were near faultless… Birdsong is not an easy story, but it helps us to understand. No play can hope to achieve more than that.” Stagetalk Magazine
“Birdsong is a masterpiece in every respect. Outstanding. Stunning. Superb.” East Anglian Daily Times
Production Photos by Jack Ladenburgh
A great play based on Sebastian Faulks powerful WW1 story. The poignancy of a love affair brilliantly acted by Tom Kay and Madeleine Knight in amongst the horrors of WW1. This play is definitely one not to miss.
This play with the superb acting of the Cast and the brilliant set just brings home in a very poignant way Just what the Great War was like,Tim Treloar as JackFirebrace ,Tom Kay as Stephen Wrasford and Madeline Knight as Isobelle especially shone, I loved the subtle changes of time in the script and how well the cast coped with this .I must mention at times with the blasts and the gunfire It Felt you were actually there amongst the horrors of War.This is a do not miss Play.,
Birdsong takes place 100 years after peace finally broke out. This new production by Rachel Wagstaff starts off in a jovial enough mood in a bar with a singalong led by fiddler James Findlay but it’s not long before reality sets in and we see the reality of this most cruel and personal of wars.
On a set which portrays the claustrophobic atmosphere of the tunnels which the sappers were building to attack the Germans – tunnels which were equally death traps for those building them – the lives and fears of these young men are revealed, whatever their grade and responsibility in the army, receiving letters and food parcels to help them through this worst of times, letters which in the case of Jack Firebrace (Tim Treloar) have a devastating impact.
At the same time, with some nifty scene changes, the story looks back at a meeting between Stephen Wraysford (Tom Kay) and the married Isabelle Azaire (Madeleine Knight) some 6 years earlier in Amiens, a story which runs right through to the end of war with a surprising consequence...
The production and the quality of the acting really do bring home to the audience the desperation of the situation in which the soldiers almost unwittingly find themselves, especially with the special effects of light and sound making you jump out of your seat when the bombs go off. Act One comes to a particularly sad and poignant end for one disillusioned and scared soldier whilst the story ends with an unexpected meeting between two men who, minutes earlier, were sworn enemies.
This is not comfortable viewing by any means but it is most definitely something to watch to understand why, if only at the human level, we are commemorating those who gave their lives for us a century ago.