Richmond Theatre – until 25 June 2022
Reviewed by Carly Burlinge
Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful comes to stage at Richmond theatre Adapted by Simon Reade.
Private Peaceful tells the story of two brothers Tommo (Daniel Rainford) and Charlie (Daniel Boyd) as they transition from their childhood to adulthood with much change and challenges along the way! They face the loss of their Father James (John Dougall) and after this sad time, the family suffer and go through hardship in which they stick together and muster through. As we watch the boys navigate through a childhood that’s beautiful and rural in the countryside of Devon with much to explore. School then starts and they meet Molly (Liyah Summers) who eventually they both fall in love with and thing become competitive and slight rivalry becomes apparent and things change! They both get jobs and continue on in life but when life seems challenging enough WW1 Starts and the brothers go and fight for their country which changes everything!
I really enjoyed watching Charlie, Tomo and Molly together on stage as children they played their parts extremely well watching friendship forms and in a fascinating place of woodlands running around having fun. Was great to watch their transition to adults with some great acting and expressions along the way. They had a great connection on stage for all to see.
Charlie plays the true protector of the family has a lot of love. Molly plays a cheeky daring but happy character and Tommo seems to think that things in life just are not fair!
The stage was interesting – set as a forest in the rural Devon Country side with large tree like sections as paths across the stage. The cast were able to walk up and around these, making good use of all the stage along with grass and flowers set about. From each side of the stage trees were situated but with wire for the branches making their sharp curved like shapes across the top of the stage giving it a fantastic look. With an easy adaption with sound and lighting taking you to WW1 frontline!
Music, sound and lighting played a massive part in this performance with a big backdrop changing colour to enhance certain scenes as well as the loud thundering noise that gave it a dramatic change from one scene to the next. Very cleverly done and amazing to watch.
I took my daughter to see this production as she has read most of his books and it’s also aimed at the younger ones. We thought that it was a great show and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, definitely one to go and take the kids too and done fantastically well.