Last night I had the chance to review one of my favourite books Private Peaceful as performed by Boxless Theatre productions and Barn Theatre. The production was directed by Alexander Knott and Zoe Grain.
Micheal Morpurgo’s book Private Peaceful is set in Devon during World War One. It is told from the perspective of Tommo Peaceful, played by Emily Costello. Who is the first female actress to play Tommo. Her performance that was described by Michael Morpurgo as “extraordinary.”
Barn theatre say that “Private Peaceful tells the story of Private Tommo Peaceful, who looks back on his upbringing, his romance with childhood sweetheart, Molly and the terrible events that saw him taken from this idyllic setting and into the horrors of war”.
Throughout the show it jumps between the past and present. This adaption of the play is a two hander with James Demaine playing Brother Charlie Peaceful and various other roles. The production itself is a touching and moving story. Music played by James added to the movement of the story a highly skilled actor indeed. I have never seen this performed as a two hander before and it worked very well the use of lighting and sound effects gave the impression that there was more than 2 actors performing. You forget that there’s is social distancing in place because it’s so slick in its delivery. The performance was emotional, passionate and a true testament to the story itself. Emily is a Actress full of energy and passion which is what this role demands and it was a joy to watch as she really draws the audience in to her story. During the production I did at points find it hard to keep up as the Dialogue was spoken rather fast. The production is an hour in length and feel it could be a bit longer if dialogue was slowed down ever so slightly. But if you want a production that offers love, emotion, innocence and heartbreak then this is the show for you. This show bought back a lot of memories for me and I want to re-read the book so thank you for this. I enjoyed it and I know you will to.
Online until the 2nd May https://barntheatre.org.uk/private-peaceful
Reviewer: Luke Stephenson
Reviewed: 18th April 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★