There have been many stories told of World War I across various mediums from books, films and stage productions, but there is nothing like the one man show, Private Peaceful. From the same author who brought us War Horse, Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the stage by Simon Reade, Private Peaceful sees a young Scottish lad, Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful, tell the story of how he came to join his brother Charlie, to fight in the Great War.
Sitting in a cell and facing a court martial, a young Tommo, played by Anthony Craig, wanting to make the most of the time he has, recounts his life and the wonderful memories he has made. From the beautifully peaceful hometown to the dangerously terrifying battlefield, the audience are taken on a journey and are introduced to the many people that have had an impact on Tommo’s life.
With minimal staging, wonderful lighting from Jason Bovaird and flawless direction by Terence O’Connell, Private Peaceful is a wonderful piece of theatre. It’s no simple task to tell such an incredible story with only one person on stage, but Anthony Craig does it flawlessly. His incredible ability to bring so many different characters to life is a sight to be seen. From the varying wonderful Scottish accents, to changes in posture and facial expressions, not once did I feel like it was just one person telling the story. The lighting and sound were amazing and at times had me feeling like I was right there on the battlefield with Tommo. But in a show that runs 75 minutes without an interval, it is Anthony Craig that needs to be commended for such a fantastic performance. Without him, this story would not have had such an impact on me.
Private Peaceful is more than just a story; it is a shockingly confronting reminder that war carries a very heavy cost. So many young men made the ultimate sacrifice, most of which like Tommo, weren’t even old enough to enlist.
With a very limited run at Prahran’s Chapel off Chapel, ending on the 8th September, Private Peaceful is a production that must be seen.
Tickets to see Private Peaceful are available from the venue both online and at the box office. Performances are; Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30pm, Saturday Matinee at 2:00pm, Sunday at 5:00pm.
For more information and ticketing, visit: https://chapeloffchapel.com.au/show/private-peaceful-michael-morpurgo/