21 October, 2022
Review of APA’s upcoming Arms and the Man: opening night a roaring success
A review of Atherton Performing Arts' upcoming play, Arms and the Man by APA member, writer and critic Martin Kerr.
BY MARTIN KERR
In the stunning opening night comedy of Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man, empires and humans showed their true colours; bracingly relevant to all of us facing uncertain times.
Enthusiastic theatre goers refreshed with snacks and drinks during two intermissions in the newly renovated and air-conditioned Atherton Performing Arts theatre.
With impressive sets, sound and lighting systems, well directed and stage managed; actors all played to the whims of love, social position, military rank and downstairs chicanery.
Czarist Russia’s first full-time novelist Alexander Pushkin, with his African heritage, made something of empires in the early 1800s, and Leo Tolstoy with War and Peace, un-knowingly offered an unheeded warning to Hitler.
Socialist Bernard Shaw issued a warning too. Nobility and colonialism were a means of extending power. Principalities such as Bulgaria were brought into the fold of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Serbs went rampant and an exhausted Swiss Republican mercenary sought shelter with a Bulgarian ‘aristocratic’ family. He was a chocolate soldier; certainly not the melting type. He feared door to door massacres. But his age, experience and manners worked in his favour.
By contrast the heroine’s brave young fiancé, who put the Serbs on the run, admitted his military inexperience and genuinely expressed feelings for a feisty servant girl.
In the mopping up, Russia handed Serbia to the Empire. Alliances changed and the Swiss soldier, who inherited assets in the form of hotels, bargained for the Bulgarian family’s daughter.
For a great night out at the APA Theatre, Silo Road, Atherton, bookings are available 27, 28, 29, 30 October from www.athertonperformingarts.com.au, at Tableland Books, Vernon Street, Atherton, or at the door.
Martin Kerr is a member of APA, a writer and critic.