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War Correspondents - UK Theatre Tour Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Event: -
Emotive topic falls flat with uninspiring songs
War Correspondents looks on paper as though it has the potential to be something extremely thought-provoking - but as a continuous "song cycle", it lyrically and musically fails to grip the attention.

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War Correspondents fails to hold the attention


Composer Helen Chadwick and creative associate Miriam Nabarro interviewed several journalists who have covered conflicts from Afghanistan to Bosnia, Chechnya and Iraq. Those real-life interviews, sporadically played over a speaker through the musical, were the best bits about this experimental production.

However, most of the show consisted of a small cast of five, acted out the role of war correspondents, who didn't have the strongest of voices, singing 30 acapella songs that were well below average, repetitive and uninspiring.

The songs seemed to all merge into practically the same tune and the lyrics were far too basic to do justice to such a complex topic, and after a while, my mind began to wander with disinterest.

Performed by the Helen Chadwick Song Theatre, and featuring Helen Chadwick as one of the singers, this production has been co-commissioned by Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Sage Gateshead and New Writing North for Durham Book Festival.

There were a few moments that stood out and were creative in showing the mindset of a journalist, who may be held at gunpoint or attacked for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but overall, those moments were few and far between.

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War Correspondents is touring the UK


With the current conflicts ongoing around the world and interviews with war correspondents achieved as part of the performance, this had the potential to thought provoking, but instead lost its way and lacked the drama it so desperately needed.

It ended up telling me nothing I didn't know already and was musically self-indulgent on songs that were ridiculously inane and obvious.

The journalists who sacrifice much of their lives to report the truths of war, which this show was supposed to be paying homage to, deserve much better than this.

Score: 2/10

War Correspondents
UK Tour - tickets cost from 10.

June 6 - Galeri Caernarfon - 01286 685222

June 11 - Norwich Arts Centre - 01603 660352

June 13 - 14 - Unity Theatre, Liverpool - 0844 873 2888

June 20 - 22 - Greenwich & Docklands International Festival - 020 8305 1818 or visit the Festival website.


Planned dates to be confirmed:

October 10 - 22 - Stratford Circus, London.
October 14 - Sage Gateshead, Newcastle
October 15 - Durham Cathedral
October 16 - 17 - Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton
October 21 - Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales
October 22 - The Stables, Milton Keynes
October 23 - 25 - Salisbury Playhouse
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Why? Gritty subject but under-par songs
When: Until October 25
Phone: 020 8305 1818
Where: UK Tour - Greenwich, London, Gateshead, Liverpool, Norwich, Liverpool, Wales
Cost: Most tickets from 10
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