Tag Archives: Euan Wilson



UK Tour

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR at the Theatre Royal Windsor


“A multi-talented cast of Pierrot-style performers … give their all in this satirical rollercoaster of a show.”

As one of the UK’s leading touring companies with a commitment to theatre that ‘entertains, provokes and inspires in equal measure’, Blackeyed Theatre are continuing their anniversary tour of Joan Littlewood’s pioneering ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ with a stop in Windsor.

The piece was developed in an improvisatory style by Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in in 1963. Her vision was to break the fourth wall that separates audience from performer, challenging elitism by taking theatre to where it was most needed as part of her proud boast that she was a ‘vulgar woman of the people’.

A multi-talented cast of Pierrot-style performers, most of whom trained on the Rose Bruford School’s Actor Musicianship programme, give their all in this satirical rollercoaster of a show. Director Nicky Allpress acknowledges the complex challenges of the piece which she describes as ‘a beast’ to rehearse – but her vision shines through.

Projections designed by Clive Elkington detail the heart-rending cost of the so-called ‘war to end all wars’ that pointlessly took the lives of tens of millions of young people whilst their unfeeling commanders remained indifferent to their struggle from a position of relative safety behind the lines.

An atmospheric backdrop is created by a circus tent inspired set (Victoria Spearing) evocatively lit by Alan Valentine. The cast play percussion, trumpet, double bass, accordion and more. They sing the old battlefield songs with a mad intensity which seemed to escape the audience member to my right. He sang along gleefully until the fierce cost of the conflict began to appear. Then he was silent.

Even before the show opens, Pierrots lounge in a box and interact with the audience in surprising ways. There are a number of stand-out scenes, including a poignant re-creation of the moment when soldiers met in no-man’s land on Christmas Day. But there’s no false sentimentality here and the satire is brilliantly sharp in a number of key scenes that depict the officer ‘donkeys’ who ordered the British lions into destruction. Naomi Gibbs has designed some clever costumes that at one point permit the cast to play both officers and wives in a viciously entertaining ballroom scene.

The company demonstrated a brilliant command of different voices, and their take on the indifferent drawl of the officer class was particularly impressive. Tom Benjamin sparkled as the MC and Harry Curley and Euan Wilson gave equally strong performances. The other members of the cast  shone equally in this non-stop cavalcade of a show.

OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR at the Theatre Royal Windsor as part of UK Tour

Reviewed on 2nd April 2024

by David Woodward


Previously reviewed at this venue:

CLOSURE | ★★★★ | February 2024
THE GREAT GATSBY | ★★★ | February 2024
ALONE TOGETHER | ★★★★ | August 2023
BLOOD BROTHERS | ★★★★★ | January 2022
THE CHERRY ORCHARD | ★★★★ | October 2021



Click here to see our Recommended Shows page


Stick Man – 3.5 Stars

Stick Man

Leicester Square Theatre

Reviewed – 21st October 2018


“the whole cast consistently kept a sparky energy and played well to the audience”


Stick Man, one of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s many much-loved children stories, is now enjoying a stage adaptation by Freckle Productions, in a show that lifts the charm and appeal off the page and delivers it to families across a sizzling forty five minute romp.

The plot sees the titular Stick Man (Jack Benjamin) taken on a perilous adventure after being swept away from his stick family by a dog (Kate Malyon, also playing everything from a swan to a very aggressive schoolgirl) during a jog in the park; he keeps getting used and abused in different scenarios until he ends up in need of some serious help to be reunited with stick wife and children. Euan Wilson rounds out the cast, chiefly providing music (composed by Benji Bower) on all manner of instruments that provides a gleeful timbre to the action on stage. The interplay between Wilson on the saxophone and Malyon’s swan was particularly enjoyable, although the whole cast consistently kept a sparky energy and played well to the audience.

Stick Man employs a number of everyday objects in its design (Katie Skyes) that allows for the cast and director Mark Kane to let them ooze creativity when used in performance, such as a roll of blue wallpaper wrapped between two cast members acting as a river, or using umbrellas to depict a raging ocean. The results are visually delectable, and keep the audience constantly engaged as to what innovative use of regular paraphernalia will be utilised next.

The style of the show takes a number of cues from pantomime, featuring a chase through the audience, a game of catch with a beach ball, and – yes – even a ‘they’re behind you’ moment. This works wonders to invite the audience into the story, and it is telling that the sections which did not feature any participation are the ones where the audience grew restless, giving the feeling that Stick Man should have embraced a few more opportunities to include the audience.

The source material has some issues if you’re looking closely, such as that the entire journey Stick Man goes on doesn’t see him learn anything or change, and there’s no especially interesting lesson to take from the story. Crucially, however, by and large the children adored it, and were uncontainably engrossed by the show’s end. Parents looking for an alternative to the usual panto this Christmas will find a lot on offer here.

Reviewed by Tom Francis

Photography by Paul Blakemore


Leicester Theatre

Stick Man

Leicester Square Theatre until 6th January


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Murder, She Didn’t Write | ★★★ | February 2018
Sh*t-faced Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice | ★★★★ | April 2018
Sh*t-faced Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet | ★★★★ | June 2018
Murder She Didn’t Write | ★★★★ | September 2018
Sh*t-faced Showtime: Oliver With a Twist! | ★★★ | September 2018


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com