As we commemorate the start of the First World War, a timely production is stopping off for a night at the Lowther Pavilion. Bantams tells the story of men forced to stay out of the fight, due to illness, age, or infirmity, but who decided to ‘do their bit’ all the same.
It is set in 1915, as the Great War rages on. Hundreds of thousands have already enlisted. Hundreds of thousands more want to and will. But not every man who wants to enlist can. Some are too old. Or too thin. Or have poor eyes. Or poor hearing. Or a bad leg… the list is endless. Unable to enlist, they must remain at home to endure accusations of cowardice, humiliation on every street, or white-feathers in the morning-post until finally, these men are given their chance.
Bantams tells the story of men who could have stayed out of The Great War and could have stayed safe. But they chose not to, and chose instead to take part in the most appalling, most destructive, most deadly conflict the world had ever seen. The play paints an original portrait of the First World War which saw nearly 20 million dead or missing on both sides, another 20 million wounded, and a world that would never be the same again.
Told in a series of flashbacks, Bantams deals with some serious events in a very funny manner and presents the audience with a theoretical chronicle of the horrors of war, told through the lives of the infectious characters and the two women in their lives, and in doing so, the story highlights the criminal loss of life, brought about by the callous stubbornness of latter-day politicians and generals who kept informing their men that they would be ‘home by Christmas’.
Bantams is at the Lowther on Friday, October 31 at 7.30pm. Tickets: Adults £12 Concessions £10
Featured image from Wikimedia Commons by Rcbutcher
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