You’ll Get Used to It … The War Show

Funny and Poignant – You’ll Get Used to It

You’ll Get Used to It … The War Show encapsulates the emotional state of Canadians in World War II in just two acts.  Now on stage at Playhouse II in Grand Bend, this musical takes the audience on a trip from the excitement of going off to save the world all the way through to the heartache of losing close friends.

This play by Canadian Peter Colley, who is best known for his thriller I’ll be Back before Midnight, offers comedy in the first act, then a harsh dose of reality in the second act, much like the emotional journey of the Canadian boys who volunteered to serve.  The mood is enhanced by the familiar war songs sung throughout the show.  Credit goes to director Alex Mustakas for creating passionate feelings throughout. 

When the chance to volunteer for the army comes along, some of the young men are eager to go – one wants to escape the dirty work on the family pig farm, another is avoiding the police who are trying to catch him for petty theft. The story relates the feelings of uselessness as they practice maneuvers and repeatedly march around England in an effort to fool Hitler into thinking there were more new recruits then there actually were.  Later, the young soldiers are shocked by the horrors in Dieppe and Italy.  Finally, as they lose their comrades, the cruelty of war becomes their reality.  Then, of course, victory comes in the end, but at great price.

Andrew Scanlon opens the show as a convincing elderly veteran recalling the war stories and tugging our heart strings.  Popular actor Keith Savage plays Pops, an older soldier signing up again, after surviving World War I.  It’s interesting to note that Savage, much like Pops, played the same role in You’ll Get Used to It … The War Show when it was at Huron Country Playhouse 18 years ago.  Savage is always popular for his comedy and in this show he doesn’t disappoint.  As well as handling the role of Pops, Savage is several other characters, including a hilarious army doctor with cigarette in hand and a crazy commanding officer.

Tyler Check demonstrates his comedic chops as Dud, the wide-eyed, not-so-bright soldier who is bumbling his way through the war.  Aaron Walpole plays Sarge and sings in his rich, melodic voice, despite being a rather threatening sergeant.  Alex Furber is an entertaining Jean Pierre, the Quebecois volunteer.  Timothy Gledhill is Sharky who enjoys romance with an English girl.  He gives a rousing rendition of “There’ll Always be an England”.

Together the five male singers create smooth harmonies.  They also provide some funny songs including the one that discusses parts of Hitler’s, Goring’s, Himmler’s and Goebbels’s anatomy.  In addition, AJ Bridal and Amber Tomlin play several female characters.  Both young women possess beautiful voices and sing the wartime favourites.  The score includes Vera Lynn’s popular songs of the day, such as “The White Cliffs of Dover”, “We’ll Meet Again”, and “When the Lights go on Again”.  An audience favourite is “Lili Marlene”.

This musical has been brought back to the theatre in respect of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.  It was an honour to have two World War II veterans in the audience on opening night.  I am sure any veteran or Legion member would have an appreciation for this entertaining and poignant show.  Everyone else, including children, should see it for a reminder of how much we owe those who fought for our freedom.

You’ll Get Used to It! … The War Show will be on stage at Playhouse II, Grand Bend until July 13.  Tickets are available by calling the Box Office: 519-238-6000 or Toll Free 1-855-372-9866, or check www.huroncountryplayhouse.com

Photo: Alex Furber, Andrew Scanlon, Aaron Walpole, Tyler Check, and Timothy Gledhill in You’ll Get Used To It! … The War Show.  Photo supplied by Drayton Entertainment.

You’ll Get Used to It! … The War Show
By Peter Colley
Directed Alex Mustakas
Choreographed by Gino Berti
Musical Direction by Jim Hodgkinson
Performed by AJ Bridel, Tyler Check, Alex Furber, Timothy Gledhill, Keith Savage, Andrew Scanlon, Amber Tomlin, Aaron Walpole.
Drayton Entertainment Production
Playhouse II, Grand Bend
June 27 to July 13, 2019
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

 

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