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A simple, but very fitting tribute to those people involved in WW1.  The piece was put together by Lea Pryer and Susie Conder, to show the effect the war had on the soldiers and ordinary folk of the time, using music from the era, plus poems, one written by local man Ron Wheelhouse, and an extract from a play.

The set was simple but gave us all the detail we needed, which was enhanced by lovely lighting from Paul Horsler – I particularly liked the lighting when the troops were going over the top – and when Steven Pryer said his poem – very evocative and fitting.  The projection of poppies on the wall for the final scene were excellent – and innovative, rather than have the usual poppy petals falling – all these small things gave the whole piece individuality.

The small cast kept the production nice and tight and I liked the start of the production, with old photos projected onto a screen, it really set the scene, this also concluded the show.

I was very pleased there were no bows, it would have been so out of keeping with the meaning and emotion, and was not needed.

The whole cast did well, although I feel TADS cope well but need an MD to get more meaning and depth into the music.  I liked the use of the piano accompaniment, it seemed fitting.

The scene when the young men were going off to war was nicely done – the sound effect of the train letting off steam, and the puff of smoke was good, it would have been nice to have had some further train noises as a background, as it suddenly went dead.

Kevin Birkett gave the opening speech, taking words from the Prime Minister of the time, and his announcement of our involvement in the War, with Simon Giltrow starting the musical side of the proceedings, with a reflective rendering of Long Way to Tipperary, which also finished the show, sung by the ensemble – bringing the piece to a poignant end.

Jaymes Sygrove and Nadia McMahon-Wilson gave us a lovely duet, Jaymes always gives such meaning to whatever he does, and Nadia was drawn into the emotion too.

Michelle Chamberlain made a good recruitment officer, making the young men want to go to war – and sang her solos very well.

Rachel Price, Judy Palmer and Chloe White all participated with enthusiasm and added much to their solo lines and the ensemble pieces, whilst showing their dramatic capabilities in the play extract.

Rory White and Harrison Watson made up the complement of men, and both gave good performances, using their acting talents in the pieces where there was the spoken word, and joining in the musical parts with gusto.

Jaymes Sygrove writing of a letter to his Bertha, asking her to marry him, was very affecting, and the singing of Silent Night from the English and German troops whilst kicking around a football, showed the fact that in spite of everything the troops on both side were just young men obeying orders.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the production and was pleased that I went along on Remembrance Sunday – it brought it all home and was somehow very fitting.

I understand the Royal British Legion will benefit from the proceeds, which is great, I’m sure TADS are grateful to everyone who supported them in this important year of remembrance, whilst enjoying a very nice production.


 “LEST WE FORGET” TADS Theatre, Toddington

review date 9th Nov 2014

Written, Directed & Produced by: Lea Pryer &

Susie Conder


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