Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Trench Trio's Ordeal

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Trench Trio's Ordeal

Article excerpt

Byline: By Gordon Barr

Entertainment Editor Gordon Barr has a round-up of what's happening in one of the region's theatres

A new hard-hitting play about the First World War, written and directed by two Tyneside men, will receive its debut at The Customs House next week.

The popular South Shields venue has joined forces with North East theatre company Lobster Productions to present The Butcher's Bill from next Monday until September 8.

Written by South Shields playwright Ken Reay, the drama is about three men trapped in No Man's Land in 1916.

All three have different reasons for trying to escape the fighting and all three are desperate to survive.

Executive director of The Customs House, Ray Spencer, said: "Humour, drama, excitement and a gripping story are now a trademark of Lobster Productions and we're delighted to be co-producing this fantastic new play".

Previous plays written by Ken Reay include Dangle in the Dust and Master Key. He has also co-written plays with Tyneside playwright Tom Kelly, including the musical The Machine Gunners.

He said: "I've always been fascinated by the bravery shown by soldiers, and in particular those in the First World War who knew they were facing almost certain death or mutilation when they went over the top.

"Many men could have found excuses to stay at home but still joined the forces. During my research I also came to realise that men from across the vast British Empire also volunteered to fight, and I began to wonder how 'a rainy little island off the coast of Europe' came to control a third of the world's population.

"All three characters are trying to make their minds up about whether to return to the madness and danger or run away. It seems to me that all soldiers, including today's highly-trained professionals fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, face that decision every day. …

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