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Review: Private Peaceful at South Hill Park

Private Peaceful is at South Hill Park until Sunday, October 14

Terry Adlam

Terry Adlam

Review: Private Peaceful at South Hill Park

There are many superlatives that I could use to describe this production based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel ‘Private Peaceful’, but for now I will stick to just the one and that is ‘stunning’. 

The script, the acting, the set, the music, the lighting, the costumes, the whole theatrical presentation was just stunning.

The horror and futility of The Great War is seen through the eyes of young Private ‘Tommo’ Peaceful, taken, along with his brother Charlie and friends, from the tranquil countryside of Devon to the hell on earth that was the Flanders’ trenches    

Director Joe Malyan used every part of the multi-layered set and technical resources to create a cinematic feel to the piece without losing the intimacy of theatre. The shifting between home and the battlefront was both creative and impactful and tugged relentlessly at the emotions.

The cast were excellent and it almost seems wrong to mention individuals without taking anything away from what was a solid and superb ensemble, but Keir Buist as ‘Tommo’ and Michael Ayiotis as his brother ‘Charlie’ were outstanding.  Two young talented actors with a big future in front of them.

I know I said I was only going to use one superlative, but everyone involved in this production should be congratulated for between them they have created something that is wonderfully touching, heartbreakingly poignant, remarkably memorable and of course, absolutely stunning.

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