The Wipers Times returns to music hall

Starting its second run as a play in Nottingham, a home of the Sherwood Foresters, music hall also returns home.  A format used for some of the satire in The Wipers Times, a First World War trenches newspaper, from which the play takes a long deep drink and brings it back to life, making you  laugh and smile throughout.
Go see!

I suspect the play relies heavily on previous knowledge of the war, the 2013 tv drama of the story (one of my highlights of the year), possibly the documentary, and possibly risks being spoiled by the knowledge of “Blackadder goes forth” (and hoping for a Balderick character).
(I remember Jeremy Paxman complaining of treatments of WW1 that suggest the war and the officers were ridiculous, and then told the story of one officer who coloured his face so as not to show fear in the face of an enemy as he went out, stick in hand, no doubt to be shot at from half a mile away.)
Whilst the story is perhaps familiar, I didn’t recall the emphasis on the Temperance Society’s campaign during WW1.  The tv show was probably better at explaining how the idea to publish developed.

I was told that the engineering duties of these members of the 12th Battalion meant they had more time on their hands during the day and hence their ability to produce the newspaper.  The play makes it clear how so much material was provided from soldiers across the front, who no doubt had time to fill, paper to write on and news to share.   I wonder whether they’d have made better use of Facebook?

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