Review of the final performance of “All the Fine Young Men” Octagon Theatre, Okehampton Devon

I went to see the last performance of “All the Fine Young Men” because I knew some people in the cast and wanted to support them rather than in any great expectation: I’m not a fan of musicals and I was just a little weary from the wall to wall coverage of the Great War we were given in 2014. But almost from the first moment, when the production opened with a straight to the audience reminder of how the war began, I was caught up in this clever weaving together of song, poetry and history. Once again we were reminded of the innocence of that time, which was captured in a purer way in the folk music of the period than it could have been in speach, and the way in which that innocence was shattered on the battlefields of France. There was a lovely section in which some of the actors joined us and we all became the audience for a morale-boosting old time music hall. When they had to go back to the lines afterwards it was as if we had to go with them. When the inevitable happened and some of the fine young men from Lewdown and elsewhere died in the fighting it felt like a personal loss. So well done to all the fine young (some of them) performers for putting together a memorable evening. I shall think of that final scene around the war memorial as that time of year comes around again this November.
 
Stephen Cook
 
Rector All Saints Church Okehampton
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