A TALENTED cast brought to life all the heavy-duty irony of Oh! What a Lovely War in the latest drama production at St Benedict’s School, Ealing.

This theatrical chronicle of the carnage of World War One (first performed in 1963 under the direction of Joan Littlewood) is told through songs, short episodic scenes and documents of the period, and is no ordinary piece.

The talented cast rose to the challenge of balancing irony and bitter truths with music hall comedy and singing.

With more than 100 different characters, the play was written for a multi-role cast. The performers showed their versatility by switching rapidly between lower ranks, officers, and civilians, showing a range of perspectives from all the nations involved in the conflict.

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Sylvia Pankhurst’s appeal for the world to come to its senses, and her words – “We are killing off slowly but surely the best of the male population” – contrasted starkly with Sir Douglas Haig’s determination to continue sending thousands of men to the front.  

The show’s 15 songs– including Goodbye Dolly Gray, Keep The Home Fires Burning and Pack Up Your Troubles - were appreciated by the audience, as well as the choreography, with military advancements, marching suffragettes, generals and washer women moving in turn across the stage.