Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

REVIEW ; Birdsong Oldham Coliseum

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

REVIEW ; Birdsong Oldham Coliseum

Article excerpt

THE task of reducing Sebastian Faulks's doorstop of a novel into a two hour 40 minute play could not have been easy.

"Why try to make a painting from a sculpture?" was the author's initial question to adapter Rachel Wagstaff but he would later be won over and the play became a West End success.

The latest production, currently on a whistlestop tour, proves a moving offering, faithful to its source material.

It begins on the Western Front, centering on officer Stephen Wraysford (Jonathan Smith) and the tunnellers braving explosives and enemy fire to build the human-sized warrens under the trenches.

It is through a delirious Wraysford - saved by Jack Firebrace (Jim Treloar) - that we first see a glimpse of the young officer's story, transporting us back to his love affair with an unhappily married woman four years earlier.

A great deal of athleticism is required from the relatively small cast, particularly Smith, as they shift between often overlapping wartime scenes and Amiens in 1910, where the lovers meet. …

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