THE trauma of the First World War was explored through the eyes of children by CODYS in their new show at The Brindley.

Warrington’s youth musical theatre group took on The Battle of Boat, an original musical by composer Ethan Lewis Maltby and lyricist Jenna Donnelly, first produced in 2016 by the National Youth Music Theatre.

The show tells the story of a courageous group of children who want to vent their frustration at not being able to support their fathers, brothers and uncles in the trenches. The musical dramatises the unsettling uncertainty the world felt in 1916, and shows how, when we feel threatened, we close ranks and lash out at ‘others’ who do not look or sound like us. This could not be a more relevant show in 2020.

CODYS’ director and producer Nick Cupit, with his creative team of choreographer Laura Cupit and musical director Simon Pickup, did an amazing job in transporting the audience back a century.

The cast of teenagers put on an incredible ensemble performance, with pitch-perfect singing, ranging from moving solos to gorgeous harmonising.

As always it is impossible to name everybody, but standout performers were Poppy Williams as Frances, Oliver White as William, Emma Brew as Florence and Ewan Schooler as bully Gripper.

The show is incredibly moving and The Brindley audience was stunned into silence as the names of relatives of the cast killed in battle during the First World War were displayed on a video screen and poppy petals fluttered down from the theatre gods. But these lump-in-the-throat moments were beautifully leavened by some great comedy. Much of this was down to the hilarious performance of Isaac Hartill as Beagle. Isaac is a born comedian.

CODYS never fail to impress and in The Battle of Boat – a show that deserves to become better known – they have done something special.

Next stop for CODYS is the Queen musical We Will Rock You in September.