A Scottish odyssey through WW1 in song and verse

War & Glaur, a drama commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of WW1, is being performed in six Borders venues this month.

Composed almost entirely of poetry and song, War & Glaur sets out to convey the mood of those tragic four years mostly through the words of Scottish writers: John Buchan, William H. Ogilvie, Sir Harry Lauder and others less well known,

Written and performed by Selkirk actor John Nichol accompanied by musician and singer Hilary Bell, War and Glaur was first devised back in the summer of 1998, and featured at in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the following year.

The show has been revived and toured several times since, performed in venues from Berwick to Dumfries. War and Glaur is a journey from the jingoism of the recruitment drive to the horrific reality of No Man’s Land; from the fellowship of the trenches and thoughts of home to the loss of close friends and loved ones. It is a subtle blend of pathos and humour and audiences are advised to bring a handkerchief.

Much has been written about the Great War, from the horrors of the battlefield and the camaraderie of the trenches, to the immense human sacrifice and the futility of it all.

It seems that the subject of the Great War has been approached from every conceivable angle, yet it continues to hold an awesome fascination for so many.

Nichol says, ‘The Great War has always interested me. I vividly remember my grandfather, John Nichol, singing Inkey Pinkey, Parley Vous to me. He lost his left arm in a shell burst on the Somme battlefield, and, as a small boy, I couldn’t understand why he would never take his ‘empty sleeve’ out of his pocket. As time passed, there dawned on me the stark realisation that had my grandfather been dealt a fatal blow instead of his ‘blighty’, I would not be here at all – no doubt a familiar story for so many’.

The tour opened at Coldingham last Saturday, and the show received enthusiastic praise. Nichol and Bell now take War and Glaur to Midlem (Friday, November 2), The Haining (Friday, November 9), Caddonfoot (Sunday, November 11), Coldstream (Saturday, November 17), Smailholm (Sunday, November 18) and the Heart of Hawick (Saturday, November 24).

War and Glaur is dedicated to all those who were casualties of ‘the war to end all wars’.