THE FULSTOW BOYS, ARC, STOCKTON

A powerful and moving story that remembers the 'deserters' of WW1, and one woman's campaign to honour her village's war dead.
THE FULSTOW BOYS, ARC, STOCKTON

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Fulstow is a real village in Lincolnshire. It never had a memorial to remember its war dead. This is the story of why – a powerful and moving story that remembers the ‘deserters’ who have since been pardoned.

Based on true events and set across two time frames, The Fulstow Boys tells of a group of friends who went to war in 1914 and never returned, and the modern day story of one woman’s campaign to honour her village’s war dead.

It’s a new play by Teesside writer Gordon Steel performed by his Steelworks Theatre Company

There are lots of laughs, but more memorable are the poignant scenes recounting the reality of ‘shell shock’ – or PTSD as we know it. It’s incredibly timely as we approach the commemoration of 100 years since the end of WW1 in November.

WHO’S IN IT?

A tight, strong ensemble cast with all actors playing a ‘then and now’ part, other than Nicola Pike – the main role, a headstrong, bolshie and unstoppable force of nature played by Laura Mould in fine, passionate voice. Nicola fights to get a memorial for the village with the name of ‘deserter’ Charles Kirman included. Charles is played by Joshua Hayes and his performance is compelling and moving, highlighting so well the mental struggles of those who fought – and ‘deserted’.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT?

It’s a hugely human story, filled with heart and conveyed with laughs, warmth and reasons to be tearful. There are middle-aged men dressed as bunnies and ballerinas. There are bottom jokes and cake-baking banter. Petty village hall battles as Nicola fights for the memorial are shadowed by the enormity of the real wars that are pivotal to the story. In a striking scene where Charles faces execution – the cast performs a beautiful choral piece that takes your breath away. And there were many a muffled sob in the audience as Nicola delivered her passionate ‘everybody’s sons’ speech.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT?

Everyone should see it as we remember WW1 this year in particular. It’s a powerful and passionate play that lingers in the mind; fine homegrown theatre, which deserves to be supported.

WHEN IS IT ON?

At Arc, Stockton until September 15 and Customs House, South Shields 24-29 September. In between touring in Hull, Chesterfield and Kendal.


arconline.co.uk

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