BEST mates go in search of adventure in Brummegem Pals at Stratford Artshouse this autumn.
The new play, written by comedians Malcolm Stent and Don Maclean, tells the story of Jackie Moore and Danny Arrowsmith, who at the age of 17 are intent on abandoning their apprenticeship in favour of adventure.
Jackie and Danny enlist and serve together all through First World War, from recruitment and training, through the Battle of the Somme, Italy and back to France.
It is the moving story of two ordinary boys, their lives and loves and their families caught up in the horrors of the war to end all wars.
Malcolm explained how two comics from Birmingham came to write a serious play set in the vicious terror of the Great War.
“My best pal told me of his grandfather who enlisted in a Birmingham Pals Battalion, went off to fight in France and never came home, having died in the Battle of the Somme.
“We went to find his grave and with help from the Imperial War Graves Commission we found it in a cemetery near Beaumont Hamel, in Picardy.
“Later, we drove to Albert, a small town nearby for lunch and a glass or two. Seated outside a cafe we noticed that the main street was named “Rue de Birmingham.
“So naturally two Brummies wanted to know the reason. I found the answer fascinating.
“Albert was razed to the ground. The Birmingham (Brummegem) Pals Battalions, 14th, 15th &16th Royal Warwickshire Regiment raised by the City of Birmingham, had fought and died in that area for most of the First World War.
“So at the end of the war, in tribute to them and the bravery of the French people who had lived in underground tunnels, Birmingham paid for the restoration of the town of Albert.”
The performance is at the Stratford ArtsHouse on Thursday November 12 at 7.30pm.
Visit www.stratfordartshouse.co.uk for tickets, priced £19.50.