Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s The Wipers Times tells the true and extraordinary story of the satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the Somme.
In a bombed out building during the First World War in the Belgian town of Ypres (mis-pronounced Wipers by British soldiers), two officers discover a printing press and create a newspaper for the troops. Far from being a sombre journal about life in the trenches, they produced a resolutely cheerful, subversive and very funny newspaper designed to lift the spirits of the men on the front line.
The spirit and humour of a lost generation shine through a poignant, thoughtful script
A skilled reminder that what separates civilisation and barbarity is perhaps not efficient bureaucracy nor military strategy, but laughter
Though not exactly groundbreaking, it does provide a novel way of framing the Armistice centenary with a truly remarkable story
Even – perhaps especially – at its silliest, the play has a respect for its subject matter that is deadly serious and decidedly affecting
Ian Hislop salutes satirical wartime newspaper. The show recounts an extraordinary story. Offers a salutary message: that, even in war, blessed are the piss-takers.