Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo
Scamp Theatre
Udderbelly

This show has become an Edinburgh Fringe institution and, as a result, is now playing in the large Udderbelly. That takes away some of the intimacy but obviously increases the box office.

The solo show follows the short life of the eponymous Tommy in the trenches of World War I, rather like the hero of Morpurgo's other stage hit, War Horse.

We first meet Tommo Peaceful on his West Country farm in idyllic childhood, devoted to his brothers after the early death of his father under a falling tree.

Quickly though, he falls for pretty Molly, though she eventually marries Tommo's elder brother Charlie, in rather an unseemly hurry.

When war arrives, the youngsters enlist at the same time, though Tommo is far underage and they remain together through the horrors until the play's finale.

Simon Reade directs Leon Williams, whose acting and storytelling both seem geared to younger audience members.

This is an ever popular book and stage play that will continue to enchant and quietly spread its author's pacifist message.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher