Blame it on the Kaiser - Swallow Theatre review

Cast of 'Blame it on the Kaiser'
Cast of 'Blame it on the Kaiser'

Dominic Goodwin has built up a loyal following among audiences at The Swallow theatre. His latest production ‘Blame it on the Kaiser’ was specially written for performance at The Swallow.

Along with familiar local faces, he presented an evening of songs, readings and drama.

As the audience arrived on Friday evening, they were able to view a series of slides showing the various local war memorials, while listening to laments played on the Scottish small pipes by David Hannay.

The audience were encouraged to join in some of the well-known songs such as ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’, ‘Goodbye-ee’ and ‘The Roses of Picardy’ written before or during WWI.

Short comedy sketches were also appreciated, especially the classic I spy game from ‘Blackadder’.

A different, more sombre and moving piece was the extract from Stephen MacDonald’s play ‘Not About Heroes’. This portrayed a conversation taking place in 1917 in Craiglockhart War Hospital Edinburgh, between Siegfried Sassoon (Dominic Goodwin) advising his young friend, Wilfred Owen (Phil Grainger) on his choice of words as he wrote the legendary poem ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’.

Local history was recalled as we heard of the bravery of Louis McGuffie of Wigtown, who received the Victoria Cross for ‘ ...conspicuous and resourceful leadership under heavy fire near Wytschaete on 28th September 1918.’ Sadly he died just six days later.

On a lighter note, we heard about the ‘Knitting War’ between the ladies of our local parishes as they strove to outdo each other with their prodigious output of knitted garments – especially socks!

Dominic had brought two of his actor friends Bromwyn Jennison and Phil Grainger with him and the three were ably supported by the local acting and musical talent of Stephen & Marian Byrne, Steve and Eileen Robinson and David Sumner.

Credit must be given to all who succeeded in producing a well-balanced evening of entertainment, on a subject which is in danger of reaching saturation point.

This production had the audience leaving with reminders of the horrors of the Great War, but also a smile and a song.

Next weekend at The Swallow - for something completely different - Columbian Folk Music, with Familia Correa.