‘Moving’ wartime play returns after 40 years

The Winslow Players rehearsing Oh What a Lovely War. PNL-140929-215353009
The Winslow Players rehearsing Oh What a Lovely War. PNL-140929-215353009
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A drama group is waiting in the wings to perform a poignant play for the first time in 40 years.

Winslow Players performed Oh, What a Lovely War! in 1974 but the amateur dramatic group will take to the stage on October 9 for the first of three new versions of the First World War show.

Oh, What a Lovely War! is described as a ‘theatrical chronicle of the Great War’ told through the songs, speeches and letters of the time.

The group’s cast of 30 act out scenes in between projected images and news items from the bloody war which began 100 years ago this year.

Chairman of Winslow Players Derry French is one of two original cast members from the first show 40 years ago, along with her aunt, Chris Chapman.

Ms French said: “The cast have been quite gripped by it.

“It’s funny in bits and very moving in bits. I don’t think people will not be able to be moved by it.”

Mrs French said preparations have gone well for the production which is the group’s autumn show.

It performed lan Bennett’s hilarious farce, Habeas Corpus in May and will play Punch and Judy in February.

Cast members have performed a variety of plays and pantomimes for more than 40 years including murder mysteries, funny farces, serious satires, variety shows and musicals.

But next week’s show falls poignantly to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Ms French said: “I think everybody has somebody with a connection, I have four great-great-uncles on the war memorial.”

“It’s an incredibly demanding piece. With 183 speaking parts for the 30 members in the cast. There are songs and slides projecting as well.”

The drama group, which meets on the second Wednesday of the month in Jennie Wren’s Tea Rooms, is hoping to attract more male actors.

Ms French said: “There is a slight disparity between men and women. It’s the opposite with professional groups – there are more roles for men but we only have eight.

“But we have so much fun. We work hard too but it’s always so much fun.”

Oh, What a Lovely War! runs from Thursday, October 9, to Saturday, October 11, from 8pm each night in Winslow Public Hall.

Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets are priced at £6 for Thursday and £8 for Friday and Saturday. They can be bought from Divine Diva in Winslow High Street or call 07745 223365.