An emotionally draining and atmospheric drama

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Birdsong, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne

I have never seen the stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong before, neither did I see the televised version, so this week’s production, directed by Alastair Whatley at Devonshire Park Theatre, was completely new to me.

If you want an insight into what life was really like for the officers and men in World War One then you should go to see this wonderful, atmospheric production.

Victoria Spearing’s set on the Western Front in France between 1916-1918 gives you a real idea what the trenches and tunnels were like.

When the action moves back to Amiens in 1910 the transformation is so quick it is easy to follow.

Alex Wardle has designed excellent subtle lighting for the wartime scenes and you suffer with the men.

George Banks gives a moving performance as Stephen Wraysford, who is the central character in both stories, which are interlinked, and Peter Duncan is amazing as Sapper Jack Firebrace.

All the acting is superb and there is some good singing of familiar WWI songs.

I was emotionally drained by the end of the first half but couldn’t wait for the second half to begin.

Carolin Stolz is beautiful and moving as Wraysford’s love interest in Amiens as is Elizabeth Croft as her sister Jeanne.

Samuel Martin,who plays Evans in the production, also adds to the emotion of the evening with some live interludes on the violin.

Some plays you see and just know you will never forget the experience and Birdsong is one of them.

By Amanda Wilkins