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2nd Jul, 2022

Review - Private Peaceful

Malvern Editorial 19th Apr, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

Private Peaceful by Michael Murpurgo, adapted by Simon Reade

Malvern Theatres Friday 18th April

This enjoyable production of “Private Peaceful”, a collaboration between Scamp Theatre & Fiery Angel, brings a simple and effective storytelling to Malvern Theatre?s Festival stage on a sunny Good Friday afternoon.

I invited two members of Perfect Circle Youth Theatre, Will and Juno, to join me for this performance in order to bring a young(er!) perspective to the review. We were all very pleased to note that Malvern Theatres was full of children and young people – there was a production of “Charlie and Lola” in the Forum Theatre at the same time.

Will said, “I really enjoyed the production as a whole, I felt drawn into it. I was a bit surprised to find there was only one actor because I remembered all of the different characters in the book and I didn’t know how they would manage to put all of that across with only one actor, but I think they managed it very well. The simple adaptable staging helped this as it was well suited to the constant changing locations and it didn’t distract the focus from the actor (I especially liked the way the bed turned into the dugout).”

Juno thought “the show was an impressive feat for one actor; he kept the audience, which was quite young, interested as well as keeping his energy up. There were a few technical issues, sometimes the sound effects made it hard to hear the actor and sometimes they were too quiet. The lighting was great, really showing the different times of day.”

I thought the most effective moment in the performance came at the end; Tommy stands still, hears the clock chime six and drops his head as a shot is fired. For the first time, the audience is given a moment to think, to consider his plight. I wondered whether other moments could be found in the production to allow the audience space to use our imagination. A break from the relentless storytelling and energy of Andy Daniel?s performance might have resulted in more powerful, theatrical moments. An audience needs to do some work too.

By Lee Farley accompanied by Will and Juno from Perfect Circle Youth Theatre.

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