The WWI Wardrobe Project

August 16, 2018 | By | 1 Reply More

★★★☆☆     Historical accuracy

Greenside@Nicolson Square (Venue 209): Fri 3– Sat 25 Aug 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

The WWI Wardrobe Project has emotional force as well as a certain charm as Immersive Response’s production seeks to make 1917 more immediate.

A small space in Nicolson Square becomes a village hall, with the audience getting the chance to meet various characters involved in the war effort – and even have their photographs taken in the appropriate outfit.

Danielle Farrow, Katie Stanway, Tamas Fazakas, Angela Milton. Pic: The WWI Wardrobe Project

Danielle Farrow, Katie Stanway, Tamas Fazakas, Angela Milton. Pic: The WWI Wardrobe Project

What diminishes the piece’s impact is the slight disconnection between its elements. The framing device of a Women’s Institute volunteer drive relies on (not notably taxing) audience participation, although luckily the cast do have several Plan Bs up their sleeves for when those attending prove as pusillanimous as we did.

Within this, there are monologues from the various characters that are powerful, well written and well performed – but their content is rather at odds with the context of a geeing-up session.



The early placing of the nurse’s monologue, written by Jen McGregor and excellently performed by Danielle Farrow, is also unfortunate, as nothing that follows matches it for impact. Even if you think you are familiar with the horrors of World War One, this has a grim and upsetting tone.

The rest of the script – written by the production’s deviser Angela Milton in collaboration with Farrow and Tamas Fazakas – does retain considerable interest.

wounded dignity

Fazakas, as a naval reservist, has a wounded dignity, while Milton’s performance as the meeting’s chair is an unfussy, highly effective one. The monologue performed by Kate Stanway as a munitions worker could benefit from a little trimming, but is effectively performed.

The realism of the framing device is well thought out, with the customary ‘tell your friends’ appeal at the end of a Fringe show being one of the cleverest imaginable. Everyday life a century ago is thoughtfully evoked, and even if your only desire is to dress up in old costumes, it is worth your while attending.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
Greenside@Nicholson Square (Venue 209), 25 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX
Friday 3 – Saturday 25 August 2018
Daily (not Suns): 3-11 (not 5) at 12.50 pm; 13-18 at 10.30 am; 20-25 at 11.40 am
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wwi-wardrobe-project

Company website: http://www.angelajmilton.com
Facebook: @ImmersiveResponse.
Twitter: @ResponseTheatre

ENDS

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  1. Suzanne Senior says:

    I loved this production and found it very affecting. I really liked the way in which the characters started off with a call to volunteering, then forgot themselves and allowed the audience to see their struggles with the challenges they had encountered in their respective fields during the Great War. At first I thought they were veering off subject but then realised that this would be entirely in keeping with their being volunteers rather than professionals. I felt I was with very real people.
    I also also enjoyed the audience participation element – I dressed up in the Nurse’s uniform and played imaginary football with the munitions worker!
    It was also informative and I think it would work very well in schools.
    I would give it four stars, as a result of the performance I saw today.

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