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Review: Delight at the stage adaptation of Birdsong
ADAPTING a book to stage is always going to be difficult but I was delighted with the way it was done last night with Sebastian Faulk's incredibly popular novel, Birdsong.
I have always been a big fan of the book which focuses on officer Stephen Wraysford as he struggles to cope with the effects of World War One.
His memory keeps returning to before the war when he fell in love with the beautiful Isabelle in France.
It was made into a TV series with Eddie Redmayne in 2012 and for me this didn't quite live up to the book with too many lingering stares. It is also going to be made into a film.
However the stage production at the Wycombe Swan this week, which is adapted by Rachel Wagstaff, was tremendously well done.
It is presented as a memory place, which would seem very difficult to do, but it worked well.
Time would change as Stephen went back in time to a memory he had- with the help of props and sounds this was very convincing and the audience were easily transported back and forth.
The war scenes were also very well done and with the superb actors, convincing sound effects and lighting it really did take you to the darkness of the trenches and the horror of war.
Jonathan Smith was excellent at Stephen, who is a slightly stilted character who finds it hard to express his emotions. He made him likeable at the same time.
Sarah Jayne Dunn, best known for playing Mandy in Hollyoaks, was also brilliant as Isabelle with an impressive French accent.
The two portrayed the passion between their two characters with their convincing body language.
The love scene between the two before the end of the first act was very cleverly done.
Tim Treloar really shone as Jack Firebrace- the soldier who saves Stephen's life. He had the most touching scenes and I was always glad to see him return to the stage.
It was also a funny play with some great one liners as it tried to portay the every day life of war. T
he rest of the cast were all fantastic too- with not one taking a step out of line.
Arthur Bostrom was brilliant as three different characters. He played Crabtree in the TV comedy, 'Allo 'Allo as the English policeman with the very funny French accent and I couldn't help but chuckle slightly when one of his characters on stage has a French accent.
Of course his accent in this is completely convincing but it does raise a smile.
I was really impressed with this production, which has clearly had a lot of love and care ploughed into it.
It has kept the essence of the book and is beautifully presented with a cast of extremely talented actors.
Birdsong is at the Wycombe Swan until Saturday at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm Tickets range from £16.50 to £25.50. Go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk or call 01494 512000.
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