After a record-breaking season at the West End (not to mention a similarly record-breaking run at the Playhouse in September 2017), The Wipers Times returns to Oxford.
Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s The Wipers Times tells the true and extraordinary story of the satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the Somme.
In a bombed out building during the First World War in the Belgian town of Ypres (mis-pronounced Wipers by British soldiers), two officers discover a printing press and create a newspaper for the troops. Far from being a sombre journal about life in the trenches, they produced a resolutely cheerful, subversive and very funny newspaper designed to lift the spirits of the men on the front line.
Defying enemy bombardment, gas attacks and the disapproval of many of the top Brass, The Wipers Times rolled off the press for two years and was an extraordinary tribute to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Duration: 2 hours 10mins with interval
Laugh a minute
★★★★ Mail on Sunday
What this play brilliantly conveys, without any sentimentality and with copious gags, is that the production of a few fragile pieces of paper came almost to matter more to those chaps involved than life itself.
Even – perhaps especially – at its silliest, the play has a respect for its subject matter that is deadly serious and decidedly affecting
Ian Hislop & Nick Newman’s play dresses the story with an infectious charm that captures the British stiff-upper-lip attitude, complete with jazzy music hall numbers, while paying homage to the black humour of the paper.
★★★★★ Libby Purves
Even in war, blessed are the piss-takers
There is both seriousness and sadness and a touching respect for men who, surrounded by hell, had the guts to laugh about it