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Tuesday, 19 January 2021

REVIEW: Bully Beef & Whizzbangs for the Living Record Festival

The Living Record Festival is a celebration of ground-breaking grassroots digital art happening between the 17th of January and 22nd February 2021 with a range of audio stories available to listen in to at home. My first visit to the Festival was for the World War One play Bully Beef and Whizzbangs commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War and set in 1916 in a front-line trench on the Somme.

Over the years since the end of the War there have been some powerful and moving plays written about the events in France and Flanders. The 1928 play Journeys End by RC Sheriff remains one of the finest dramatic portrayals of life in the trenches and the 2007 play War Horse portrays the conflict on a more epic scale. The 1963 musical 'Oh what a lovely war' brilliantly combined a music hall style presentation with a sharp critic of the General’s tactics and more recently in 2016 Wipers Times by Hislop and Newman comically told the story of the front-line publication that soldiers produced in Ypres. This new play written and directed by Chris Hawley takes a closer more personal view of a soldier who has been on the front line since the start of the was in 1914 and last went home to blighty over a year before. It has the feel of Verbatim Theatre, a view of survival through one mans eyes and the interactions he has with fellow soldiers during a lull in hostilities.
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