Following orders: Furious Folly
"Anti-war messages are communicated, be it in speech, song or placard – “Don’t, don’t, don’t go to war”, “war is organised murder”, “and if you think it’s right, why don’t you go and fight?"
10pm on 17th June saw me stroll down a prettily lit path, lined with perfectly trimmed greenery and Beatrice Hoffman sculptures, to the school field at Magdalen College School.
What greeted me here was a setting somewhat at odds with the peaceful one I had been in just moments earlier – such is Mark Anderson’s creation, Furious Folly.
A fitting venue for this show about The Great War, Magdalen College School was used as a hospital to treat the war wounded, while the field served as a training ground for the School Cadet Corp. Cloaked figures in horror face paint are the hostile ushers for the night, first directing us to a form of holding area before an announcement rang out commanding us to move forward to the middle of the field where the main event was to take place.
Like sheep we followed the order without question, like all those soldiers did 100 years ago. As I stood looking through fencing at what I believed would be the stage for the night, I thought this was my assigned spot for the next 45 minutes – and I wasn’t convinced I had the best view.
Then the fencing opened up and through we all went. No Man’s Land.
The production is like a fireworks display where you’re utterly blind to where the next bang is coming from, resembling the uncertainty of being in No Man’s Land. The dialogue is fast paced and frantic without losing coherence or the sentiment.
The desperation of those hardest hit by war is conveyed, “how I long for your next letter”, “a few more weeks and perhaps this will be over”. We're showered wtih anti-war messages, be it in speech, song or placard – “Don’t, don’t, don’t go to war”, “war is organised murder”, “and if you think it’s right, why don’t you go and fight?”
The rain, which I also expected to shower us, held off for the majority of the show choosing to make an appearance in the closing minutes. In a sense a bit of bleak weather to close a piece of theatre like this was quite appropriate.
At a time where the threat of war is ever present, Furious Folly succeeds in showing the huge sacrifices that come with it – a sobering and harrowing display.
Related Articles: Peter Pan in Scarlet World Premiere