A STORY of both love and survival, Birdsong is a very powerful novel written about life in the First World War. 

The dramatic and emotional performance by the Newport Playgoers was delivered by a strong cast who captivated their audience with their portrayal of life on the front line. 

The heartfelt story follows the lives of Stephen Wraysford (played by a passionate James Symonds) and Jack Firebrace (Jes Hynes) through love, loss and the day-to-day life of a camaraderie of soldiers before bringing them together to share their experiences.  

The story was gripping, travelling through time, with Jack’s powerful scenes in the second half being particularly outstanding. The atmosphere was very tense and the harmonica music, set and explosions/gunfire really set the scene for the story of life at war.

The sappers Jack (Jes Hynes), Arthur (Ryan Hillier), Evans (Ryan Salter), Adams (Steve Drowley) and Turner (Stuart Fouweather) had great humour and chemistry while the side story of the Azaires, (Fay Grummitt, Steve Drowley, Adele Cordner, Holly Dawe and Charlie Turner) kept the audience interested as the talented cast jumped from one memory to another. 

An excellent portrayal of a well-known story, Birdsong is at the Dolman Theatre until Saturday.

Julia Fitzgerald