Photo Credit: Malcolm John
(Accessed from http://www.redladder.co.uk)
My friend and I had an opportunity to see Red Ladder's Leeds Lads starring Jamie Jones-Buchanan last month. The local story is about a local family who relooks at the past and particularly the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. Tara's (Leah Francis) grandfather fought with Leeds Pals at the Battle of the Somme and her mother Susan (Emma Tugman) reminisces. The story dips in and out of the First World War and links with modern warfare where Tara's brother, Liam (JJB) is serving as a soldier.
Themes such as equality, camaraderie, gender, patriotism, politics and sociology intertwining with societal values which shaped in the past and now shaping the present and future. Characters, past and present, relive the past and share how multicultural Leeds have become today. Leeds Lads certainly explores and reflects how fears, hope and love amidst conflict past and present can affect family and friends.
Ali Allen's staging and Tim Shelley's lighting compliments one another. Space is utilised with smooth transitions between each scene and each plot is co-ordinates. There is no feeling of the stage being 'cluttered' particularly with simultaneous actions.
Live music by Boff Whalley, Beccy Owen and Sam Butterfield accompanies the production with song and mood. The singing determines how one can appreciate the past and present events which were important and even more important now. An excellent production which offers one a lot more about the Battle of the Somme.