War parody has serious message

The Merry Roosters Pierrot-troupe.
The Merry Roosters Pierrot-troupe.

Mansfield Palace Community Theatre take to the stage next week with a show full of the fun of a seaside end-of-pier performance, mixed with music hall humour and song.

Oh What A Lovely War is on at Mansfield Palace Theatre from 3rd to 5th July for four performances and is part of the Palace’s centenary commemorations of the start of the First World War.

War images and facts are contrasted against the humour and popular songs of the day such as If The Sergeant Steals Your Rum Never Mind and Pack Up Your Troubles.

Community Theatre director Christopher Neil said: “The play’s content does focus on 1914 and the Great War, criticising the Governments of the time and the tactics of Senior Officers, but, most importantly, it honours and reflects upon the brave soldiers who fought and were killed.

“It was crucial that this production brought that key element out.”

With many productions of this play being performed nationwide in this special year, it unquestionably remains one of the most entertaining, engaging and thought-provoking pieces of theatre.

The Mansfield version will see jolly seaside Pierrot troupe, in the guise of ‘The Merry Roosters’, live on stage for the performance and the cast have enjoyed the process of fact finding and learning song and dance routines whilst representing numerous characters.

First timer in the Community Theatre, Cora Vanaman, said: “Bringing all elements of the play together is really rewarding; it is a really powerful story to tell.”

Fellow company member Bernadette Birzulis added: “How relevant the play still is today as war continues throughout the world.”

Tickets for the show are £7 or £23 for a family of four.

Call the Box Office on Mansfield 633133 or book online at www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre.

A collection for the Royal British Legion will be held at the end of the show.

Performances start at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30pm.