Billy Bishop Goes to War
Barbara Willis Sweete
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A televised adaptation of the seminal Canadian play "Billy Bishop Goes to War". The play is inspired by the true exploits of WWI Flying Ace William Avery "Billy" Bishop. Accompanied by the award-winning writer/composer John Gray, Canadian acting legend Eric Peterson plays Bishop in his twilight years as he reminisces about his life. A FilmBuff Presentation.
Not as good as the staged version
I have followed the evolution of this show since I first saw it in my youth in Denver International Theater festival. While the show has aged well with the original cast and holds it own to this day this version is not the one I would recommend.
Lets start on the positives, as I said the cast still holds there own playing there parts and while the voices are not as clear as they once were it is not a draw back either. The set is well done the lighting is well designed the video clips are a nice touch but we do not need to actually see Margret she is the constant and is best realized in the viewers mind. The audience touches were a nice addition to put a context in place.
With the good comes the bad. Who thought it was a good idea to slash whole section of the original show out, if it was for time then that was a poor excuse. Some of the best parts of the show are left out which builds context. the parts that were left out often help build transition and when you do not have them prior a reference makes no sense. Sedrick is completely gone other then a minor reference. This is like taking Merriman the butler out of Importance of Being Earnest. Lady Saint Hellier is this minor bit and is actually a crucial character to the story. Some of the funniest bits were excised by someone trying to pare the show down for what ever reason and that is a tragedy.
I will say watch the movie but first find the CD of an earlier version of the show and then watch this what I have said will make more sense. The audio CD has a complete version of the show and is much more engaging then this movie version sadly. I had such high hopes for this production but in the end it flaps down the runway like a crippled duck.