All Quiet on the Western Front

Incognito Theatre’s adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front is a solid, if predictable, production which ticks all of the necessary First World War boxes.

If you’ve seen Journey’s End or any other First World War drama, then you’ve probably seen this show before

Being an adaptation of Erich Remarque’s 1928 novel, it’s not hard to see why this might be the case. After all, just about every First World War drama has taken inspiration from it and its famous film adaptation in some way or another, meaning that all of it tropes are exceedingly well worn. Whilst the male ensemble do a good job in presenting a faithful adaptation within the constraints of an hour long running time, that’s about all they have the time to do.

Incognito’s production attempts to blend elements of physical theatre, caricature and naturalism together, with varied results. The slow-motion physical theatre, for instance, looks impressive against the smoke and soundscape the first time you see it, but drags after a while and by the end feels like it’s just being used to cover scene transitions. It’s rarely varied in its attempts to portray the horrors of the war, involving a lot of screaming and gnashing of teeth, and all in all it feels like it’s trying a bit too hard.

For a novel all about individual characters, it’s also rather difficult to keep track of who’s who. Characters are frequently swapped in and out of the story, and it’s only really when the ensemble portray extreme physical caricatures of particular characters that any sort of impression is made. One early scene portrayed the almost traditional scene of a group of soldiers visiting their friend who had recently has his leg amputated, but given that we’ve had little in the way of grounding for the characters by this point, it doesn’t strike the emotional gut punch that it should.

The ensemble’s strength is in finding the comedy of these characters. When they’re joking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company onstage, suddenly these previously underdeveloped characters spring to life. A particularly enjoyable scene where the group discuss the various different methods to cook a pig in the middle of an artillery strike is perhaps a glimpse of what might have been. Another nice touch was the wide variety of British accents used to portray these German soldiers, a subtlety that I wish had been present in other parts of the play.

Ultimately, if you’ve seen Journey’s End or any other First World War drama, then you’ve probably seen this show before, perhaps performed with a bit more nuance. All Quiet on the Western Front is so keen to tell us that the First World War was bad, but this is something that anyone who’s had a history class in school already knows and it doesn’t try to explore much else. Despite this, the ensemble are a talented bunch and are worth a shot for any keen history buff. 

Reviews by James Beagon

Assembly Roxy

The Battle of Frogs and Mice

Assembly Roxy


theSpace on Niddry St

Julius Caesar

Scottish Storytelling Centre

The Wonderful World of Lapin

Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck

Pleasance Courtyard

Future Perfect


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Following a sell-out run at Edinburgh Fringe 2016 and subsequent transfer to SoHo Playhouse, NYC, Incognito Theatre return with their adaptation of Erich Remarque's tale that exposes the harrowing reality of trench warfare. Incognito use their signature physical style to create a poignant and visually stunning theatrical experience that exposes the personal sacrifices that were made for the sake of the Great War. 'Enthralling, moving and fundamentally, beautifully human' ***** (ThreeWeeks).

Most Popular See More

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets