REVIEW: Private Peaceful at Salisbury Playhouse

Many will know the book. Written by Michael Morpurgo, Private Peaceful is an award-winning novel adapted for the stage by Simon Reade. The play has just spent time at Salisbury Playhouse, as it tours the country, and Experience Salisbury was there to see it. 

For those who haven’t read the book, Private Peaceful is an emotional tale about two brothers – the Peaceful brothers. As we follow Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful and his older brother, Charlie, through their childhood in rural Devon we see the hardships facing working-class families at the turn of the 20th century. The juvenile excitement and brotherly bond of the two youngsters is perfectly captured by Daniel Rainford (Tommo) and Dan Boyle (Charlie). Their early days are full of love and loss, with unexpected events forcing them to grow up quickly, and grow apart. 

In 1916, as the First World War rages, the brothers join the army and travel to France. Here, we see them struggle to cope with life in the trenches. Will they survive, and will they come back together? 

Director, Elle While, does a brilliant job of weaving the stories together through flashbacks. Atmospheric lighting, haunting music and captivating acting combine to create an emotional production, with elements of humour as well as sorrow.  

The ensemble cast was a joy to watch. Liyah Summers, John Dougall, Robert Ewen, Abigail Hood and Tom Kanji, all play multiple characters with ease. Bringing life and colour to the stage as well as their characters. 

You do not need to be a Michael Morpurgo fan, or need to have read the book, to enjoy this emotional production. 

If you missed Private Peaceful at Salisbury Playhouse you can still see it on tour. For a full list of venues click here.  

Plus, Salisbury Playhouse has a full line-up of entertaining productions to come this month. Sheila’s Island – a new comedy by the man who brought us Calendar Girls – begins tomorrow, 3rd May and the uplifting The Rise and Fall of Little Voice runs from 9th to 14th May. Book tickets now! 

Sign up to our mailing list for exclusive offers, news and events.