Theatre Review: All is Calm

A moving celebration of humanity through letters, poems & news records from the first world war era about the Christmas truce of 1914.

Presented by Promise Adelaide
Reviewed 21 December 2017

Such a perfect reminder of the meaning of the season and the way humanity can triumph if we would only let it.

Writer Peter Rothstein has taken only actual pieces from letters, poems and news records from the first world war era to put together this moving production about the Christmas truce of 1914. The whole thing is handled with care and sensitivity by director Paul Reichstein and his assistant Trish Francis, it is never maudlin or overly sentimental. Kudos too to musical director Trevor Anderson who has made this ensemble sound so good. All music is a capella and the harmonies are amazing.

Opening with a grandfather (Malcolm Walton) reading the story of the 1914 truce to his grandson (Cooper James), they set the scene and then disappear until we see them again when the truce is over. From there the cast take on a variety of characters, both British and German, quoting from letters, etc and singing hymns and popular soldier songs from the era. Stille Nacht, Pack Up Your Troubles, O Tannenbaum and Christmas Day in the Cookhouse were among the many well-sung songs.

The atmosphere is created by the set and the evocative projections, beautifully enhanced by Bob Weatherly’s lighting. This is an ensemble piece and there are no real stars, but the whole is a stand out performance, truly moving. Lachlan Blanch, Jack Conroy, Deon Martino-Williams, Nick Munday, Cameron McKinnon, Jack Raft, Will Richards, Aaron Thomas, Jono Webb, Lachlan Williams, Aden Quinn, Musical Director Ben Francis and MD Trevor Anderson comprise this wonderful cast.

It’s not a new story, but one we need reminding of now and again, how when things seem at their worst, the human spirit shines through. This is a powerful piece of theatre that touches the audience. It makes us aware of the need to continue to strive for peace and celebrate our humanity.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: The Goodwood Institute, 166 Goodwood Rd, Goodwood
Season: 21-23 Dec 2017
Duration: 80 mins
Tickets: $25

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