Woodbine Willie was the popular nickname of The Reverend Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy, the first padre to base himself on the front line during the Great War. Willie dispensed tea, the gospel, and a seemingly endless supply of cigarettes to the men in the trenches, while also writing poetry that reflected his thoughts and views of the war. He was always available to pray for and with the men, to listen to them, give words of comfort where required, and share their hopes and fears.
Woodbine Willie and conscript George Barlow are lovingly and convincingly brought to life by David Robinson and Ollie Ward in this Searchlight Theatre Production, which was also written and directed by David Robinson.
This show, like all the best shows about the Great War in my opinion, brings home to the audience the futility of war, the way it changed lives not only for the men who were fighting, but also for their families and loved ones back home. The dialogue is interspersed with war songs and the poetry of Woodbine Willie, and all elements combine to form a very powerful and moving performance.
Review by Lisa Sibbald
Greenside @ Nicolson Square - Emerald Theatre
Aug 3-8, 13-16
Country: United Kingdom - England
Group: Searchlight Theatre Company