A musical story of a bloody civil war
The Bosnian civil war and genocide which scarred the 1990s might not seem the most appropriate topic for a harrowing yet hilarious musical.
But two writers and a cast of young actors from the West are about to take theatre by storm with their take on the collapse of Yugoslavia into bloody civil war.
Despite the fact what happened in Bosnia in the early 1990s wasn’t a revolution, but a descent into internecine ethnic civil war, Mike Wilkinson and Nicholas Keyworth’s production is called Revolution! The Musical.
And after a one-off run last year at the pair’s home theatre in Corsham, Wiltshire, it is now about to tour the West, play at the Edinburgh Fringe and by this time next year might very well have taken over the world.
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The pair have secured £10,000 of Arts Council funding, and the show is about to tour Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol to do for the Bosnian civil war what Les Miserables did for the 1832 June Rebellion or Miss Saigon did for the Vietnam War.
It follows the tale of Yugoslavia from the death of Marshal Tito in 1980 to the collapse of the Yugoslav state and how it affects the workers at a toilet factory, telling tales of love and loss, freedom and despair.
The man who wrote the words, Mike Wilkinson, 23, was inspired by a visit to Mostar and to the town’s famous medieval bridge, destroyed in the war.
“The shiny new stone of the replica bridge, rebuilt in 2004 after its destruction in 1993, is a painful reminder of the dark chapter that these people have endured,” he said.
“As we developed the story behind Revolution! The Musical, I was struck by how, despite our involvement in that region’s complex struggle for peace amid the break-up of Yugoslavia, there is a real lack of understanding about what actually happened there.
“Revolution! The Musical is not a definitive guide to the Bosnian War and it is not supposed to be. That’s what history books are for, but what I hope Revolution! will be is an inspiring story taking the essence of the struggle to its heart – the will of a people fighting for the freedom they deserve.
“That message has so many parallels across the world and the human struggle which is so much a part of it are brought to our television screens on a daily basis such as recently in Tunisia, Egypt and in Libya,” he added.
Revolution! The Musical opened its tour in Bridport, and continues at the Bierkeller in Bristol for two nights next week, before moving to Melksham and Warminster in May and June. In August, it is going on a three-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
“Our audience loved it and since then it has been full-steam ahead as we have carried on developing the show into something that we think will have audiences enthralled,” added Mr Wilkinson.