Forgotten Voices

Forgotten Voices is a moving, poignant collection of real life memories from those serving during the First World War

Review by Nat Dyer | 05 Aug 2007

Forgotten Voices is a poignant and accomplished play that will be one of the most memorable shows at this year's Fringe. A few benches are the sole props adorning a sparse stage. Sitting on them, five strangers from diverse social backgrounds are drawn into conversation by their vivid memories of the First World War.

We listen as a working-class private, a public school-educated captain, an American serviceman, a sergeant and a soldier's wife on the home front recount their wartime experiences. There is excitement, class conflict, black humour and, of course, tragedy. The acting is superb, particularly when the characters as if overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and smells of battle flooding back, work themselves into a blind frenzy. The gas attack, the general’s dinner and the scramble over the trenches are left to the audience’s imagination but are rendered beautifully by a tight script based on recordings from the Sound Archive at the Imperial War Museum.

What emerges from the play is not one picture but a rich collection of human stories. By the end, the battle for the audience's hearts and minds is won and Forgotten Voices ensures those who served in the First World War will be remembered for a long time yet.