Oh, What a Lovely War!

Oh, What a Lovely War! by Joan Greenwood - A NODA review by Gordon Harris

Joan Littlewood made theatrical history with ‘Oh, What a Lovely War!’ way back in 1963, a beautiful crafted spoof, more of a review rather than a musical, a punchy slice of real-life history that provided a flesh-and-blood reminder of the 10 million or so military personnel that died in WW1 (plus 7 million more civilian deaths), some 25 million wounded and 7 million missing. In Henfield’s production, this was clearly clarified in smart back projection. Originally premiered at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East back in March 1963. This could have made it dated by now, but Henfield Theatre Company brought it back to life, with superb costumes, clever period projection and spot-on lighting.

But the cleverness and spirit of Peter Ingledew's direction and staging was a joy. He brought it back to life and made it alive for today’s audiences, a nostalgic glow shone through the piece. His 20 strong cast did him proud.

This may seem a short review, but I cannot give this more praise, and with the talented cast of young and old actors, singers, dancers, comedians, this was perfect teamwork from all of the cast and the camaraderie seen in them, was, flowing over the footlights.

Thank you for inviting me to this production of ‘Oh What a Lovely War!’ I thoroughly enjoyed the evening of nostalgic songs of the period, beautifully executed by your talented cast. Good luck for the rest of the run!