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.
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.
Even – perhaps especially – at its silliest, the play has a respect for its subject matter that is deadly serious and decidedly affecting
Though not exactly groundbreaking, it does provide a novel way of framing the Armistice centenary with a truly remarkable story
A skilled reminder that what separates civilisation and barbarity is perhaps not efficient bureaucracy nor military strategy, but laughter
The spirit and humour of a lost generation shine through a poignant, thoughtful script