Theatre Review: Catch The Silver Sword as it heads around the UK

by Dave Massey @brumhour

Catch The Silver Sword as it heads around the UK

I think I know The Silver Sword. It was a TV drama based on a book? Or was it just a book? I’m sure its European. Maybe it’s one of those BBC Children’s department dubbed dramas I remember watching when I was a kid. Maybe that was Heidi.

I didn’t look it up to refresh my memory. I wanted to see what it was like right there and then.

Great theatre at Belgrade in Coventry

While I’ve been to Coventry many times I’ve never seen any theatre there. We were in the B2 space at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre. It is a modern multi-level space with black walls and bright lights. You must feel very close to the action from nearly every seat.

Silver Sword Tom Mackley as Jan - Photo Credit Nicola Young (3)
Tom Mackley as Jan – Photo by Nicola Young

The Silver Sword production.

The Silver Sword tells the tale of two teenagers (Ruth and Edek) and their younger sister (Bronia) looking for their father during and after World War ll. They take an 800 mile journey from Warsaw in Poland to the border of Switzerland after they meet a teenager called Jan who is holding their fathers letter opener. This is the silver sword. The 800 miles they took to get to Switzerland was potentially a two month journey that they would have made on foot and as a book it the story designed to help explain war to children. This musical is much more of a family friendly tale.

Here the introduction to the Silver Sword features a band of performers who bound onto the stage and say Hello, right from the start we are being retold a story almost in their own words. This helps the subject matter hugely!

The rear wall of the stage is used as projection space, showing stark photos of war and refugees mixed with colourful children’s drawings depicting elements of the story. It’s a very modern way of telling a story and the music and humour involved in the characters manages to make its message a little softer.

Rachel Flynn as Ruth, Oliver Bruckner as Edek & Katrin Connellan as Bronia - Photo by Nicola Young
Rachel Flynn as Ruth, Oliver Bruckner as Edek & Katrin Connellan as Bronia – Photo by Nicola Young

I sat there and thought of modern war and refugees crossing into Europe these days. I made me feel very lucky yet again to live in the UK and feel safer than most people. Safer not safe.

Performance

The actors and play their own instruments on stage, and as well as talking to us, they talk to each other. The young people played by Rachel Flynn, Oliver Buckner and Tom Mackley really stand out in their roles, and demonstrate their understanding of the characters. The three young ladies playing Bronia are: Catrin Connellan, Lily McGrath and Abbie Clark.

The adults around them also are great playing the various characters that the young people meet along their route. Sue Appleby, Julian Harries, John O’Mahony, Lucy Tregear & Nathan Turner are all excellent at playing on stage and help drive the story forward.

While not the most conventional musical, if you are looking for something different this is really for you.

Tour dates

The Silver Sword is at Belgrade Theatre until Oct 3. Before moving to Fife, Croydon, Portsmouth, Exeter, Ipswich & Southampton until November 7th 2015 selladoor.com/productions/the-silver-sword

Look out for the Silver Sword at The Old Rep, Birmingham for four performances from October 22-24th. oldreptheatre.org.uk/tablet/the-silver-sword.html

Visit the Belgrade’s website to see upcoming productions: belgrade.co.uk


BrumHour Disclaimer. I was invited to watch the Silver Sword via The Old Rep and Belgrade Theatre. I was not paid for this review but did get a free ticket and a glass of fruit juice. It tasted nice by the way.

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