MIKE Huntington’s first-rate direction for the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society sets the scene with humour and the underlying tragedy.
The production was held en plein air in the amphi-theatrical garden of the Butchers’ Arms in Sonning Common.
The music and sound effects (Angela Pengilley and Hugh Legh) are very well presented, considering it was outside and the lighting coped well with the falling dusk (Derek Gilbert).
Jonathan Moses’ stage management and David Parsonson’s choreography are skilfully interpreted with simple proficiency. All the players are dressed in Pierrot costumes, ingeniously made by Jenny Haywood with appropriate props and special effects for soldiering or civilian parts. Keeping the proceedings together, David Parsonson plays the Master of Ceremonies with excellent timing and sensitivity. The actors’ multi-participations and singing of the well-known songs is quite captivating with solos by Eileen Pinkarchevski and Ben Mclachlan stealing the show. A grand performance by all.
The programme is a parody too, having been artfully designed by Julie Huntington, based on the 100-year-old Wipers Times, a newspaper produced in the Trenches by members of the 12th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.
Having been to several HAODS productions, once again this was a most enjoyable evening, yet moved by the poignancy and utter destruction of so many, many lives that was to change the world for ever.
Oh! What A Lovely War, The Studio, Kenton Theatre, Henley. Until August 16h.