JOAN LITTLEWOOD’S Musical Entertainment Oh What a Lovely War by Joan Littlewood, Theatre Workshop and Charles Chilton Research by Gerry Raffles after treatments by Ted Allan and others It chronicles the horrors of the First World War through a series of short scenes based around the songs, pictures and documents of that period.
As Victor Spinetti, one of the original cast, writes “We all knew something of the background to that war but I never knew that all the fuses for the shells were made in Britain and that the Germans bought their share from us during the war. I didn’t know that the women who worked in the munitions factories had their hands dyed yellow, permanently, from the saltpetre. Nor did I have any idea of the losses in that war. Ten million dead. Twenty one million wounded. Seven million missing. At Passchendaele alone, thirteen thousand men were lost in three hours. Haig’s comment was, ‘Mostly gamekeepers and servants’.”