Oh, What A Lovely War

Italia Conti Ensemble 2012

theSpace on Niddry Street

From 19 August 2012 to 25 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Graeme Strachan

Joan Littlewood's classic cabaret meditation on the First World War is brought to the Fringe with a full musical accompaniment and no shortage of rollicking fun, as Italia Conti Ensemble takes the musical satire through its paces with an energy which is both infectious and entertaining.

The build-up and history of the Great War is retold punctuated with period songs and a lot of winking jokes about national stereotypes. The jokes remain as pointed and clever as they were, which is a fitting tribute to the importance of the play and its staying power.

The only slight downside is that the more poignant moments of the production feel a little bit rushed, as the purposely slapdash set-up never quite reigns things back in again to truly hammer the horrors home.

Nevertheless, it is a well thought out and performed display of charismatic theatre.