Poignant play reflects our country and families during the Great War

The centenary of the ending of the First World War will be marked by Warkworth Drama Group with a production of My Boy Jack.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 1:50 pm
Warkworth Drama Group's production of 'My Boy Jack'. Jack Kipling , Will Jones and Rudyard Kipling, Mike Dixon. Picture by Jane Coltman

The play, written by David Haig, takes place in Warkworth’s War Memorial Hall on the three nights immediately leading up to Armistice Day on November 11 (Thursday, November 8 to Saturday, November 10).

Based on a true story, the play reflects a country at war and offers an intimate portrait of one family’s complex and divided experience in it.

Warkworth Drama Group's production of 'My Boy Jack'. Private Bowe played by Andrew Wharton Picture by Jane Coltman

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The family is that of Rudyard Kipling, whose fame was then at its height and who seemed to speak for the whole nation.

The First World War drama was adapted for a TV film and starred its writer as Kipling, Harry Potter hero Daniel Radcliffe as his son Jack, Carey Mulligan and Kim Cattrall.

During the Battle of Loos, Jack is posted missing in action and the Kipling family is informed by telegram. His family spent three years tracking down and interviewing surviving members of his platoon who confirmed that Jack was killed by enemy gunfire during the battle.

The play in Warkworth is being directed by Ralph Firth.

Warkworth Drama Group's production of 'My Boy Jack'. Private Bowe played by Andrew Wharton Picture by Jane Coltman

He said: “A century after that conflict, Kipling’s voice is with us still. It is his words on the Cenotaph ‘To Our Glorious Dead’, and it was he who coined the phrase ‘lest we forget’.

“And most people are familiar with at least a few lines of his famous poem, If..

“David Haig’s work captures the tension and horror of the trenches and the devastating impact of war on those at home.

“As a drama group based in the War Memorial Hall of a small village that lost 25 men to that conflict, we wish to commemorate it by showing how relevant those events are to us today.”

The play includes swearing and is not suitable for young children. The expletives are used as the men desperately await orders to ‘go over the top’ and attack the enemy in the face of deadly machine gun fire.

A century-old trench organ will help set the mood for the play on the first two nights of the production. The folding harmonium, to be played by church organist Beverley Palin, is believed to be the only working trench organ left in England.

Money raised by the performances will be donated to the Royal British Legion and The Fusiliers Association.

My Boy Jack begins at 7.30pm on Thursday, November 8, Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10.

Tickets for the production are £7, from the Village Store, Warkworth, N and F Young in Amble, and online at warkworthdrama.org.uk