Review 100 Reasons for War


100 Reasons for War


Calamity Practice

Fortyfivedownstairs Theatre
31 May – 16 Jun
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Tom Holloway’s 100 Reasons for War (2015) has been updated to reflect present day conflict in Calamity Practice’s uproarious, disturbing production of the work. At one point, all eight actors that form the ensemble detail the multitude of unending fighting that has taken place since the Great War (WWI). It doesn’t make for pretty watching (not that it is meant to, of course).

Review 100 Reasons for War
Photos by Harper Owen

The play juxtaposes war with day-to-day trials and tribulations … personal disagreements, fights and the patriarchy. It raises the issue of love that can be, and often is, smothering (many of the characters are on the verge of walking out on their partners) and that words can be violent.

One of the cast tries to link humanity’s constant battles back to the beginning of the universe. He contends that we are still feeling the aftershocks of the explosion that set everything off. 100 Reasons for War unfolds through a series of vignettes that express fear, anger, frustration, love and life. It covers relationships straight and gay, the mundane and the ridiculous.

Review 100 Reasons for War

The actors adopt different personas and interact with each other in various guises during the play’s 90-minute running time. There is a strong physicality about the piece, which works a treat. It moves along at pace. A series of dance numbers lighten the load.

What stood out for me was a story about Bonobos that found peaceful coexistence in a setting where the Alpha males were extinguished. I have long contended that if we all spoke the same language (in other words, if we upended the Tower of Babel storyline), we could be well on the way to resolving conflict.

Review 100 Reasons for War

However, even that is shot down in 100 Reasons for War as a fascinating tale of Ukrainian born Charles Bliss is told. He came up with the idea of the universal use of symbols, but found that his concept was exploited for nefarious purposes. Then follows another yarn about the invention of public relations and how that sullied the waters.

I was fascinated and intrigued by what I saw unfolding. Calamity Practice has done an excellent job with the material. I thought the acting and interplay were tremendous. Each of the performers has their time to shine and shine they do. The work is funny and smart, and enterprising. Mind you, I can’t get away from the portent of doom that hangs over the piece. Dare I say, man’s inhumanity to man seems to know no bounds.

Review 100 Reasons for War

Directed by Bob Pavlich, 100 Reasons for War is playing at fortyfivedownstairs until 16th June, 2024.

Alex First

Alex First

Alex First believes all people have a story to tell, if only a good playwright can prize it out of them. Alex has a natural curiosity about the world and believes a strong narrative, or narrative with music, can open the door to subjects about which he knows little. Like his parents before him, theatre is his passion – a passion with emotional resonance, one that moves and excites him. He brings decades’ experience as an arts’ connoisseur to his role as a critic.
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