Review: A Farewell to Arms, Cast, Doncaster

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This adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel about a doomed love affair in the battlefields of World War One is very timely on the centenary of the conflict.

Laura Atherton and Jude Monk McGowan are British nurse Catherine Barkley and US soldier Frederic Henry, who have an intense romance when he is injured and ends up in the field hospital where she is working as a volunteer.

Production company ‘imitating the dog’ make fantastic use of multi-media images throughout the play, which adds an extra layer to the action.

The backdrop is brought to life with moving images including pieces of the text of the book.

Three other actors (Morven Macbeth, Matt Prendergast and Marco Rossi) form a chorus, play multiple supporting roles and also film the two main characters.

The chorus narrate parts of the story and the combination of this and huge close-up images of the couple, sometimes speaking directly to the camera, give the play a very cinematic feel.

However, a slight time delay between the actor on stage and the image on screen does spoil this effect a little as the words do not lip-synch with the image.

Another glitch that had two actors grappling with a camera stand when the drama was coming to its tragic climax also broke the mood on the first night.

However, on the whole the technology does bring a whole new dimension to the live action on stage.

Laura Atherton is an excellent Elizabeth, combining bravery with fragility wonderfully.

Jude Monk McGowan is a Frederic to fall in love with, as the brutal reality of war chips away at his initial arrogant belief in its honour, revealing his inner vulnerability.

The play runs until Saturday.