‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks

By Judith Phillips

This has proved one of the most popular novels published in recent times that involves its main characters in the First World War.  People living in County Durham may already have picked up from the Council newsletter that a stage version is at the Gala Theatre in Durham from 21st to 26th May.  For further information about booking, you can check online at www.galadurham.co.uk.

I reviewed the play when a stage version was on in Darlington some time.  I had read the book and wondered how a stage play could cope with the intertwined stories.  In fact, I was impressed with how the changes of location and time were incorporated into the play with minimal staging and few scene changes.  One of the strengths of the novel and the play is how it gives a lot of time and attention to what happened to the main characters in the years before the war, not just during it.

Although faithful in essence to the book, the play (like the TV serialisation) does not include all the stories and characters in the book, so be prepared for a pared-down but still powerful, play.