Holding Hands at Paschendale

by Martin Lynch

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Based on the true experiences of his grandfather, Martin Lynch’s acclaimed play Holding Hands at Paschendale takes us back to the killing fields of World War One, where the bravest of men crumbled before the scenes of horror around them.  Cockney MO COUTTS and his brother Charlie fought side by side for two years. After Charlie’s death, MO’s nerve fails him – an unforgivable crime.  Owing to this ‘cowardice’ in the heat of battle, he finds himself handcuffed to a dour, tough talking Belfast squaddie: WILLIE HARVEY.  The two men are forced to spend four unremitting days and nights, shackled together until the impending court martial. Each is confronted with the other’s tragic predicament.

Martin Lynch is one of Northern Ireland’s leading playwrights and his work includes Dancing Shoes (the George Best Musical); The Belfast Carmen; The Chronicles of Long Kesh and The History of the Troubles (according to my Da!), the most successful play in recent Irish theatre history.


“In this excellent production by Cerberus, it’s impossible not to become emotionally involved… Mike Lees’ set and Philippa Herrick’s sound design transport the audience…”    – The Stage

“A very powerful play… acted with true passion and real sincerity”   – Remotegoat

“More than a solid odd couple drama, and has a significant asset in Dana’s intense, troubled turn as bundle of contradictions Willie”    – TimeOut

“Instense and gripping, as it moved from its tragic parochial setting  toward a universal unfolding of humanity. Both actors in this two-hander were superb, a towering performance by Christopher Birks as the prisoner should win him an Actor of the Year award. Highly Recommended. Beautifully crafted play, superb acting.”    – The Irish World


London 2011:
Christopher Birks – Mo Coutts
Nick Danan – Willie Harvey

Christopher Loscher – Director
Mike Lees – Production Designer
Vivienne Clavering – Lighting Designer
Philippa Herrick – Sound Desinger
Peta Dyce – Stage Manager


March 2011