Barbed Wire for Kisses review

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Barbed Wire for Kisses

Storytellers Hugh Lupton and Nick Hennessey, and musicians John Dipper and James Patterson

South Holland Centre

By the end of the powerful and moving performance of Barbed Wire for Kisses I felt as though I had not only walked its streets but worshipped at the village church, All Saints, and knew personally each character who lived there.

As baker, blacksmith and farmer were skillfully brought to life by storytellers Hugh Lupton and Nick Hennessey, so their sadness at the news of fallen village heroes was palpable among audience members at South Holland Centre in Spalding.

Drawing on material from Lincolnshire County Archive, such as letters and diaries, the narratives of families in one small community relayed to us across the century the anguish felt by people in all villages who lost friends and family in World War 1.

Original letters from men at the front helped to build a picture of real people who went away to war – and its effect on the people at home.

The inevitably sad stories were interspersed with folk and traditional tunes performed by John Dipper and James Patterson.

The music they played was a mix of traditional, original and adapted from composers and writers of the period, such as Gurney and Housman, which helped to paint a way of life long gone.

We watched as bad news arrived for families, in one case a letter mistakenly delivered to the wrong house and the relieved wife having to deliver the dreadful report herself.

What words could the new vicar possibly say to comfort these people? There were none, though he found a way of connecting with them in a meaningful way. Similarly, these talented actors and musicians connected a 21st century audience with the lives of men and women in 1914.

Jean Hodge