Love, sacrifice and bloody battles of war at Milton Keynes

Arthur Bostrom and Sarah Jayne Dunn in Birdsong
Arthur Bostrom and Sarah Jayne Dunn in Birdsong

A tale of love, sacrifice and the bloody battles of World War One will be played out at Milton Keynes Theatre next week.

Arthur Bostrum (known for TV’s ‘Allo ‘Allo) and former Hollyoaks actress Sarah Jayne Dunn are set to star in an adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ highly acclaimed novel Birdsong.

The story of Birdsong begins in pre-war France where young Englishman Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with his host’s wife, Isabelle Azaire.

As civil unrest mounts and war breaks in on the idyll of his former life, Stephen finds he must now lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground.

Faced with unprecedented horror, the war-hardened Stephen clings to the shrinking memory of Isabelle as his world explodes around him.

Rachel Wagstaff, who adapted the novel for the stage, said: “Birdsong is an incredibly powerful novel, and through the story of Faulks’ fictional characters, we can understand what it might have been like for individuals caught up in this most extraordinary period of world history.

“Given the approaching centenary and the passing away of Harry Patch, the last surviving British Army veteran to have fought in the Great War, it seems more important than ever that the courage and sacrifices of those who fought and fell for future generations are not only remembered, but understood.”

Birdsong will be performed from Monday, July 22 until Saturday, July 27, at 7.30pm each night. There will also be 2.30pm matinees on the Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets cost £10 to £25. To book, ring 0844 8717652.