Billy Bishop Goes to War

Historical musical? Yes, please.

The Bish himself
The Bish himself

Before seeing Billy Bishop Goes to War, I knew very little about either Billy Bishop himself or the 1978 iconic Canadian musical. On the history front, I learned that Bishop was a Canadian hero, a World War I flying ace from Owen Sound who’s credited with destroying 72 German planes. I also discovered that the musical truly deserves to be one of Canada’s most widely-produced plays. It’s a beautifully written marriage of poetry, song and storytelling that takes the audience on a journey from the beginning of World War I into World War ll through the eyes of a man on his own journey of growth and transformation. Kyle Blair gives an A-1 performance as the titular character. He also shows amazing versatility as he becomes a parade of colourful characters including an acerbic upper crust lady and a French seductress, all without missing a beat. Pianist Adam White provides able accompaniment, and his voice blends silkily with Blair’s. All this plus perfect pacing, creative, effective projections and a timely theme make this show jolly good.

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