Review A Serious Play About World War II, Willis and Vere, Vaults Festival by Hannah Goslin


(5 / 5)



What do you evoke in your mind when you hear “a serious play about World War II?

1) Would it not be serious anyway?
2) This is going to be full of meaning, of tears, there will be horses… oh wait, that’s War Horse!
3) By no means will you create in you heads what actually happens.

The first 10 minutes is hammed up, not very PC and in this way shocking. We come in believing that we have come to see a War play and some how they are degrading the entirety of it but they are serious about what they are doing. A Jewish man is in the front row, obviously very upset – this is meant to be based on his story of the Holocaust and yet they are making a mockery of it.

And then this very awkward play becomes something different. It’s a play within a play. A farce. Our real play begins when everything goes wrong and the performers must find their way out of the mess they have made. There’s a low budget essence of Mischief Theatre with The Play that Goes Wrong and it’s later counterparts. And to be able to do ‘stunts’ without a large traditional theatre basis and all the theatrical tricks that come with that is brilliant.

It’s full of manic, frenzy and endless comedy. It is ridiculous yet brilliant and a real surprise to what we not only expected to see but also from what we began watching. Awkwardness becomes falling off your seat with laughter. The un PC moments become farcical events going wrong. And we finally breath a sigh of relief that it is not some racist, not very well thought out production but a very clever trick.

A Serious Play About World War II is full of hilarity, surprises and not for the weak stomach (just you wait and see why!).  And they are a pretty swell company to boot.

Hannah Goslin


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