The music, the slow motion of the characters going over the top and then the fade into the field of poppies. So beautifully done and a brilliant homage to all those who served during World War I.
But after seeing Hobgoblin Theatre’s production of The Last Post, I will be thinking of William, Joseph and Pelly when this year’s Remembrance Services happen.
Based on the novel of the same name by author Keith Campion, The Last Post shows the story of a father and son writing letters to each other.
William (played by Callum Concepcion) is ever hopeful of his dad being home for Christmas in his letters while Joseph (played by Richard Lessen) describes life in the trenches.
William’s enthusiasm and hope is tempered by his mum while Joseph's ever-decreasing mood - is pepped up by best pal Pelly (both played superbly by Liv Koplick).
A play adapted from a book that consists entirely of letters must have a challenge from Hobgoblin, but they have made it a success by keeping the narrative flowing in an engaging and authentic way. Using a split stage and multi-media allows the audience to see the impact of the letters being written.
There are scenes with William and his grandparents (Koplick and Lessen) bring a bit of light to a lot of shade while Joseph’s meeting with German soldier Wilhelm (Concepcion) during the Christmas Day truce is truly haunting.
The cast, all playing more than one role, handle the scene/costume/character changes unerringly and it’s seamless.
After the play had finished there was a Q&A with the cast and it was clear to see it - and the characters they played - meant a lot to them.
I saw it at the Archway Theatre in Horley and the audience was a mixture of young and old, parents and grandparents and it affected everyone. There was not a dry eye in the house.
Hobgoblin, formed and run by Hannah Bowen, Dan Ellis and James Anthony, first toured the show to schools across the country and as it was so well-received by children and staff, they decided to embark on a nationwide theatre tour. I for one am glad they did,
It’s the kind of show that stays with you for days and when I take that minute’s silence on November 11, and although they are not based on real people, William, Joseph and Pelly will be in my thoughts, along with everyone they represent.
You can find out more about Hobgoblin Theatre and further The Last Post performances at https://www.hobgoblintheatrecompany.co.uk/