If you’ve been following my blog since last year,then you’ll know I’m a huge fan(sorry actrovert) of the play Birdsong.
Based on the book of the same name by Sebastian Faulks,the story follows Stephen Wraysford, a soldier who leads his men through the battle of the Somme in World War One in 1912 France whilst battling with his past and former life in Amiens with Isabelle,whom he had an affair in 1910.
Having toured for the past three years,it is still playing to packed houses around the country.
I was lucky enough to see it twice last year with George Banks and Carolin Stoltz as Stephen and Isabelle and as soon as I found it was touring again with a new cast as well as some of the previous,I booked tickets.
So yesterday I got the train to Poole to watch the new cast,and let me tell you they shined. It was brilliant. The set,costumes and lighting all add well to the effect of feeling like you’re actually in Amiens,France during the First World War.
With a few subtle scene changes I couldn’t fault it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to. (Despite Peter saying to give Alastair some pointers from our number one fan 😂) I will constantly be in awe of these amazing actors who play their parts so well. I would definately recommend you catch this if you can.
It isn’t every day you get a change to have a backstage tour after a show,but when Lauren,the lovely stage manager messaged me on Twitter asking if I’d like one,who was i to say no? That was an experience in itself. One I will be eternally grateful for.
After the show I made my way to stage door and was met by Lauren. We then made our way backstage and was greeted by Selma Brook(she played the role of Lisette last year,and was the person I was excited to see again). I handed her over a book of Oscar Wilde quotes as a belated birthday present. We then took this lovely photo(which I’m so happy with as the one we took last year came out blurry.)
We then made our way backstage where we met Alastair Whately,the director who also played Evans with a brilliant Welsh accent,who I handed a bag to containing a card and a box of heroes for the company.
“And we get presents too” Liam who played Shaw said,before we made our way through to the stage.
Walking on to that stage of a play ive loved for the past few years was amazing! I got to go through one of tunnels which the male actors made noise for to make out it was exploding. I came out and met Peter Duncan(Jack Firebrace) and Max Bowden(Tipper and Gregoire).
Peter: “Did it get you?” Asked Peter.
Me: “Not quite” I replied laughing.
Peter: “It’s nice to finally meet you. We keep crossing paths but never actually meet”
Me: “It’s nice to meet you too”
Max: “Hi Emily,I’m Max”
Me: “It’s great to meet you. Can I get some pictures?”
*takes photo of Max and Peter*
Peter: make sure to put them on twitter.
Lauren: did you want to come over into the light?
*we go over to the light of the stage and take this photo*
*alastair runs onto the stage* wait for me.
Liam: cuckoo cuckoo
We then got to go up on the balcony
And hold the rifle that james wears to go over the top,and Stephens pistol. After which I asked about the costumes. Are they the same as last year? Are they handmade? Some are the same as last year but have been altered,others were brand new. And Isabelle’s and Jeanne’s were handmade.
After the costumes we continued round the back and met Emily who played marguerite who was in the middle of resorting out the props for the evening show. Upon seeing the bottle of ‘alcohol’ I asked if it was real.
“No,just coke and water,I’m afraid. Would be funny if it was actually real one night though”
On our way out we went down to the dressing rooms where my card was propped and met the girls-Emily(isabelle) ,Selma(lisette) and Cloudia(Jeanne) and Bramley the dog.
Emily Bowker who played Isabelle came out and thanked me for the kinder I gave her and we took this photo.
And then just as we were leaving Edmund Wiseman who played Stephen came round the corner and we too took a photo.
After making our way outside and having another quick chat with Lauren,who said that if I go to see it again I can have another backstage tour,we made our back to Southampton.
Needless to say it was a great early birthday present and nice to know they don’t find my support for the show odd.
I can’t thank the company,Alastair and Lauren enough for allowing me this opportunity and for sticking around during their break. It’s certain one that will stay with me for a long time.