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Surfing Tommies (Tour - Leeds)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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From the tin mines of Cornwall to the tunnels and trenches of the Somme, Bish Bash Bosh's latest production follows three proud Cornishmen from the naïve parochial confines of pre-war provincial life to the unspeakable horror of the First World War and back again.

Revelling in the unique dialogue and character of the region, Surfing Tommies evocatively recreates a specific time and place in British history.  An unsuspecting people on the cusp of unimaginable events that would change the world forever. The small cast bring this world to life superbly and particular praise goes to Molly Weaver and Ed Williams who deal with multiple character and costume changes with tremendous skill and speed.

As rich and detailed as the first act is, it spends too much time on creating a believable world. The cost of this is little development of the main characters and their relationships beyond superficiality. Consequently their transition from naïve bravado to shell-shocked cynicism feels a little hurried. The true tragedy and cost of the war never truly conveyed.

Despite this, the production does arrive at a genuinely moving conclusion, a bravura finish assisted hugely by some very imaginative stage design which makes full use of the malleable set.

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