Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Night at the Theatre

This week my wife and I had tickets to the local theatre company Globe Theatre, as part of our season ticket package.  The first play of the season was Billy Bishop Goes to War, and it was very good.  It's a good story and they put on a wonderful show.  A very simple production, with limited sets and only two players.  But the Billy character, who gets 99% of the lines, takes on the roles of many characters over the play.  Lynne and I were sure that we'd encountered some of the old codger officers over a pint at my dad's sailing club on the Solent!

Of course Billy Bishop was a real life figure, the WWI flying ace with the highest official kill total of any Commonwealth fighter pilot, and a Victoria Cross winner to boot.  During WW2 he was heavily involved in recruitment and training programs.

His story is also not without some controversy as he was a lone wolf and a rogue and some of his claims (such as the action that won him the VC) are based on his accounts only.  However, on balance history gives him the benefit of the doubt, mostly because there was enough that he did do that is substantiated by other accounts.

The play avoids most of the controversy and was in fact written before this arose. Regardless it's a thumping good story that takes you on an emotional roller coaster and gives really good insights into a fellows thoughts in a bloody awful situation.


  1. Someone should have a word with that young man on the virtues of shaving.

  2. Conrad

    We colonials are not always as well kempt as someone like yourself. It's the wild upbringing.


  3. Gee, that doesn't look like Eric Peterson, who on tour, reprised the role of a much older Billy Bishop within the last couple of years. Great play.

    On a recent visit to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa I took a photographs of the medals awarded to Air Marshal William Bishop VC, CB, DSO,& Bar,MC, DFC, ED as well as his own souvenirs of the Day he wins his MC on April 8th 1917. I'll post them to Captain's Blog (

    1. Rob

      No it was a much younger actor at Globe (but not the one on the poster). Eric Peterson (best known as Brent's dad on Corner Gas) actually co wrote the play with John Gray. The play began when Eric and John were cast in a Stratford production and Eric lent John the book he was reading, Billy's memoirs.