Phoenix Players get in the wartime spirit for variety performance

Horace meets some colorful characters in The Way to Mandalay.
Horace meets some colorful characters in The Way to Mandalay.

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To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, The Phoenix Players are putting together an evening of drama, music and poetry.

First up is The Way To Mandalay, a one act play set in a field hospital somewhere on the Western Front during the First World War. After being found shell-shocked and with no identification tag, a soldier known as Horace faces a struggle to regain his memory.

Horace had been an actor and entertainer in the music halls and throughout the play he loses grip on reality, meeting many characters real and imaginary including Harry Lauder, Vesta Tilley and Stan Jefferson (later to become Stan Laurel).

The play, written by Christopher Kell, is loosely based on the true experiences of Horace Hillerby, who trod the boards with many famous names in the early 1900s.

The evening continues with songs, poems and letters about the Christmas truce of the First World War.

Also included in the night are songs and poems from the Second World War and a short play about the Women’s Land Army called Mums’ Army.

Theatres Of War comes to the Portsmouth Deaf Centre, Arundel Street, Landport from August 8-9 at 7.45pm.

Tickets: £6, concessions £5. Call 08454 676462 or visit