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Ian Croft of R2

reviews A Day's Work by The cast of A Day's Work

A Day's Work is Mick Ryan's folk opera about the Great War, updated to coincide with its centenary. There's a consummate cast Maggie Boyle, Heather Bradford, Pete Morton, Matt Quinn plus Mick himself. Greg Russell plays the central role of a conscientious objector, and Paul Downes is musical director and a surprisingly convincing vicar.

The show is a fantastically moving piece of work, with lots of drama, but the seventy one minute CD contains just the songs. Ryan utilises a variety of styles to reflect different moods, and lyrics always hit the spot, though some of the show's warp and weft is lost without the spoken word.

The first half is set pre war patriotic songs like 'Come And Be A Soldier' contrast with songs of moral dilemma, and set up the war in the second half. After some frivolity 'Gimme A Blighty' comes the heart wrenching climax. The conshie (Russell) stops the show with 'The Lark Above The Downs; a reflective song, as he awaits execution. Later, the wonderful Maggie Boyle leads on the poignant 'Land Fit For Heroes' and I turn to jelly.

If you get the chance, see the show and buy the CD as a reminder. If you can't, buy the CD anyway it's a great collection of songs.