KNUTSFORD Little Theatre begins the new season with a poignant link to the First World War.
The Queen Street theatre will be performing David Haig’s heart rending play, My Boy Jack, which tells the story of Rudyard Kipling’s determination to go against military medical advice and coerce his extremely myopic son, John, into enlisting as an officer in the army at the beginning of World War One.
Mainly in the Kipling home, we follow Rudyard’s obvious love for family, through best beloved tales of daring do instilled into his young children, on to contrasting patriotic fervour when addressing mass recruiting rallies.
The reality of the trenches is brought to life in mid play. In a remarkable transformation the set changes to a believable front line at the Battle of Loos where Lieutenant Jack Kipling is struggling to do his duty, in the face of impossible orders, to deal with his men of, ironically, the Irish Guards.
This powerful scene, accompanied by the dreadful noises of the bombardment, is further illuminated when a severely shell shocked guardsman meets Jack’s father and tells his devastating account of the demise of his compatriots.
Director Tina Buckley has assembled a dream cast of 10 experienced actors for this play.
Mike Wilding and Ali Hulford give powerful, sensitive performances as Kipling and his American wife; Patrick Smith catches just the right tone for the young Jack (actor and character are of a similar age), with Olivia Buckley in strong support as Jack’s sister. Special mention goes to Phil Seymour as Guardsman Bowe, as well as to the whole of the remaining cast and the supporting props, costume and lighting crew who bring great authenticity to the, at times, harrowing action.
My Boy Jack captures the feeling of that moment in time perfectly, spells out plainly the conflict of love, honour and duty, and, with the hindsight of today’s world, gives much to reflect on.
As Kipling says: “For nothing, for nothing, for nothing.”
Bring a good supply of tissues.
The theatre will be putting on a special charity performance of their upcoming play 'My Boy Jack'.
In addition to the usual performances the charity show, taking place on Tuesday, September 2, will see proceeds donated to the Royal British Legion.
The play itself – a preview can be read on this page – runs from Tuesday, September 2 until Saturday , September 6.
Doors open at 7pm, with curtain up 7.30pm.
Tickets the show are £8 and can be reserved by calling 01565 633000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.