Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Billy Bishop Goes to War--the Movie

One of the best experiences I ever had at the theater was at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. where John Gray and Eric Peterson performed their play, Billy Bishop Goes to War. (It won the L.A. Drama Desk Award.)
Billy Bishop Goes to War is a musical based on the life of Canada's WWI flying ace, Billy Bishop of Owen Sound, Ontario. Peterson, one of Canada's best-known actors, played Bishop and a host of other characters, zipping in and out of the roles with the ease of changing a prop. It was an amazing show.  I've since seen it performed in other venues, by other actors, including, David Ogden Stiers (of M*A*S*H). He was so physically different from Peterson (tall, robust, balding compared to Peterson's slight, wiry frame and red hair) that it was strange at first but it was also an excellent performance.
Gray and Peterson have been performing the play for 30 years and now they've re-imagined it, tailoring the title character to Peterson's real age. They've also filmed it. It was supposed to be released on DVD last November, but if you search for it, all you find is a paperback copy of the play. You can watch the trailer here. You can buy a copy of the play here. I am going to track down the movie.


  1. You know. I think I saw this in Halifax a few years back. It was incredible if it's the one I am thinking of. Have to go look through my playbills.

  2. Nope, I guess not. The play I saw, and it was terrific, was ."..and Stockings for the Ladies." It tells the inspiring true tale of Canadian Air Force, leader Ted Aplin, and his efforts to help rebuild the shattered lives of Jewish refuges in post-war Germany. I saw it in Chester, Nova Scotia in 2008. It was an amazing performance.

  3. And Stockings for the Ladies sounds great too. I used to go to a lot of theater here--had season tickets for several theaters but when prices shot up,I had to stop. One of my dreams is to go to the Stratford Shakespeare festival sometime. Last year I think it was, there was Lear with Christopher Plummer and Geraint Wyn Davies' one-man show about Dylan Thomas.