Stage production of Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong tours UK
Rachel Wagstaff’s stage adaptation of celebrated novel
It’s twenty years since the release of Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks’ most celebrated novel. Now, the Original Theatre Company have revived playwright Rachel Wagstaff’s stage adaptation of the book, though it’s been substantially restructured from its 2010 run in London’s West End.
Birdsong tells the story of Stephen Wraysford, a young British man staying in France before the First World War. He has a passionate affair with his host’s wife, Isabelle, but is later sent to war and fights in the Battle of the Somme. For Wagstaff – who has received ‘incredible support’ from Faulks – the reasons behind the book’s unwavering popularity are clear.
‘I think it’s written with such passion for the individuals involved,’ she explains. ‘I think a lot of people are fascinated by the First World War; they can’t quite understand how such extremity of suffering on such an unprecedented level was allowed to happen. Sebastian’s novel helps to show us what it might have been like to be an individual involved in that conflict.’
This new production features a range of TV talent, including Hollyoaks’ Sarah Jayne Dunn, Eastenders’ Charlie G Hawkins and Arthur Bostrom, who played Officer Crabtree in ‘Allo ‘Allo. And Wagstaff is overjoyed with what the company have put together.
‘I absolutely love it,’ she says. ‘This isn’t a criticism of anyone involved in the London run but this is exactly what I always hoped it might be. It’s perfectly cast, and the director has genuinely done an astonishing job. I can’t imagine a better production.’
Kings Theatre, Glasgow, Mon 9–Sat 13 Apr