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Oh What A Lovely War - DMU and Curve Review

The stars of the future are given a chance to shine at Curve in a Made at Curve co-production between the theatre and De Montfort University. 

The cast of Oh What A Lovely War. Photo by Kieran Vyas.

Joan Littlewood's satirical musical entertainment feels even more timely than ever with the current war in Eastern Europe. Oh What A Lovely War explores the horrors of World War I balanced together with music hall and wartime classics songs such as 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary', 'Good-bye-ee' and 'Oh! What A Lovely War'. Under director Lilac Yosiphon the students bring the play to a 2022 audience with real clarity and skill.

Staged in the Studio at Curve the theatre Eleanor Field's detailed multi-leveled set is littered with props ranging from chairs, tables, paintbrushes and more. It's such a detailed design that fantastically sets the scene for the production. The costumes are simple worker overalls combined with hardhats. Cast members' characters are felt penned on to them but it's not always easy to read what they say. 

Rhys Parker's lighting is most effective during the bleaker moments of the war, especially scenes in the trenches or the battlefield when paired with Angel Rossell De Pablos's sound. The use of projected images, supplied by Llanelli Youth Theatre, reminds the audience of the humanity of warfare and the sheer loss of life suffered on both sides and its striking moments of silence as the cast turns to face those images.. It's exquisitely designed across the board.

Photo by Kieran Vyas
The De Montfort University students are simply fantastic throughout. The energy and passion in every performance are a joy to watch. The cast of 16 is never off stage and you easily forget that these are simply students just starting out on their performing journey. There are some gorgeous vocals, especially in some of the quieter musical numbers whilst the ensemble numbers delight and will have you smiling along in the larger songs. Special mention to a brilliant Ben Garnett, who as musical director plays piano throughout and is outstanding.

This production is undoubtedly a showcase for these fantastically talented students, many of whom will no doubt return to Curve stages and stages far and wide. These are the stars and they all enjoy their deserved moment in the spotlight. The confidence and comradery are great, nobody ever looks out of place.

The show does feel a little long and a bit repetitive at times, especially in the 75-minute second act, but that doesn't take away from the work rate of the company that illuminates the stage with their talent. It's a hugely interesting watch and a great way to see the stars of the future in their infancy. 
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oh What a Lovely War plays at Curve Studio from 19th to 21st May 2022. Tickets from You can find out more about De Montfort University and the courses they offer from

Photo by Kieran Vyas.

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