The Muddy truth of war

A scene from The Muddy Choir.
A scene from The Muddy Choir.
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The heartbreak, humour, passion and desperation of teenagers caught up in World War One combines with song in a new show at The Dukes on Monday, February 2.

The Muddy Choir takes its audience into the trenches of Ypres and introduces them to three teenage soldiers of the Durham Light Infantry.

The trio form an ad-hoc choir and attempt to use singing as a means of escaping the horrors of the front but when their songs cause a disturbance up the line, they face unwelcome attention from their commanding officers.

Is music their ticket away from the front or will the passion it creates prove more dangerous than bullets and gas?

The Muddy Choir, which will be performed in The Round at the Lancaster venue, features close-harmony versions of popular North-East folk songs of the period and is suitable for anyone aged 13 plus.

Playwright Jesse Briton said: “In this centenary of World War One, there’s a particular significance in bringing work to venues that reflects the reality of the war for the millions caught up in it, including so many young people.”

One reviewer said: “In this profoundly moving and beautifully constructed one act play, Jesse Briton has brought the war to life...thought-provoking, blackly funny and deeply moving – in fact exactly how a play about the First World War ought to be written.”

Another called the play “tense and terrifying”.

Jesse is the founder and artistic director of Bear Trap Theatre Company. His first play, Bound, won a Fringe First in 2010 and a nomination for the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2011.

He is developing two new plays for his company: A Pupil and Enduring Song.

His work as an actor includes the world tour of Potted Potter and Humans for Schouwburg Theatre, Rotterdam and BAM, New York. He is a visiting director at East 15 Acting School.

Tickets are £12/£10(concessions) and £5 for balcony standing(a £1 per transaction fee applies when booking online).

There is a free post show talk-back with the cast for ticket holders.

For more information and to book, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit