REVIEW: Private Peaceful
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REVIEW: Private Peaceful, Theatre Royal
The timing of this could not be more pertinent, especially with all the events over the weekend that have captured our imagination.
Everyone in the country has been focused, whether it be from events at the Cathedral – or maybe Peter Jackson’s superb film on BBC2 – or an update of how Field Marshall Haig went from absolute hero at the end of the Great War in 1918 to zero by the 60s.
Let us not forget that 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers were shot in World War 1 for desertion – by soldiers from their own side.
As we told you previously, Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn.
Andy Daniel is starring in the play: “Private Peaceful is an adaptation of the novel by Michael Morpurgo. It is told from the perspective of Tommo Peaceful, an underage British soldier, as he waits to face the firing squad at dawn.
“Tommo is desperate not to waste the time he has left to him and relives his whole life with the audience, remembering his childhood in Devon with his best friend and brother Charlie and the love of his life Molly and of course going off to war.”
The resulting production is funny, haunting, colourful and bleak all in equal measure.
Andy himself is simply stunning.
Unlike the film, this is a one-man show. How anyone can do an 80-minute single-hander non-stop, matching the action to sound effects and lighting changes without forgetting the words and keeping the story going is awesome.
I particularly liked how the bed was used one moment as a bed – but then in another moment (pictured above) as a trench.
I loved how he reminisced about life in Devon. Despite being in a prison cell, you could just imagine him lying in a field, looking up at the blue sky.
The gas attack was terrifying – the inevitable ‘end’ was beautifully done, despite you knowing what was actually happening. There wasn’t a sound in the house.
There are plenty of opportunities to see this before Saturday, and I urge you to do so.