By Chris Bambery
THE SILVER Tassie is a powerful anti-war play written by the Irish socialist Sean O'Casey. O'Casey's plays brought home the reality of life in Dublin's slums at the start of the last century. The English National Opera (ENO) is now staging The Silver Tassie with music written by Mark-Anthony Turnage and the script adapted by Amanda Holden. It opens with a young soldier, Harry, who is home on leave. He has led his football team to victory and has a cup, the Silver Tassie.
As the young men and women rejoice there is the promise of love and success. Yet within minutes Harry and his friends have to return to the trenches of the Western Front. The opera incorporates the songs of the trenches and the imagery associated with war artists and war memorials. The soldiers' massed voices really get Casey's anti-war message across. This is an excellent production. It is also being broadcast on BBC2 on 30 April. Make that a date for your diary.
- The Silver Tassie is at ENO in London throughout February and then begins again on 3 April. Phone 020 7632 8300.