By Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, Charles Chilton, Gerry Raffles and Members Of The Original Cast
For two weeks in the Spring of 2014, the Gallery Players became “The Merry Roosters”, a troupe of sea-side entertainers, as they presented Oh What a Lovely War! In the words of the Master of Ceremonies, “We’ve got songs for you, some battles, and a few jokes!”
In the setting of an “End of the Pier” show, the story of the First World War is told through the popular songs of the time, including “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kitbag”, “Goodbye-ee” and “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, and in sketches based on the words of those who lived during the hostilities that began a hundred years ago. A cast of twelve will play all the parts, Brits, Germans, French and Russians, from the Tommies in the trenches to the Music Hall artistes who entertained them; from the nurses who tended the wounded to the generals who ordered their men “over the top” to almost certain death.
Director James Hayward said the production will be both a commemoration and celebration of our not-too-distant forebears, a tribute to the men and women who served their country abroad and at home and were caught up in the “war to end all wars”.