War and peace in Blandford Marketplace

periplumPERIPLUM brought the madness, chaos and terror of war to Blandford Marketplace in The Bell, a spectacular open-air show which is part of this year’s biennial Inside Out Dorset festival.

Thousands of people crowded into the town centre for the free show, which depicted unnamed tribes at war, killing and being killed, and the challenge facing the survivors, whether to seek revenge – or peace.

For those of us who had read the Inside Out programme or looked online, the action made a sort of sense, with harsh voices shouting slogans and threats we could not hear, relentlessly driving amplified rhythms, huge flags waving, explosions and the inexorable of large frames that might have been medieval siege engines or giant 21st tanks and rocket launchers.

“They are all dead, I think,” said the man next to me in the crowd. “It’s about war,” I said. He nodded.

For those – the vast majority – who had just turned out on a fine autumn night for a free spectacle, it was as confusing as it is for people caught up in the violence, mayhem and chaos of war, whether it is Gaza, Chechnya, Bosnia, the First World War, the 30 Years War, the Wars of the Roses or Rome’s German Wars with Russell Crowe’s general Maximus bellowing “Unleash hell!”

Periplum’s The Bell ends with a giant blazing bell, a great bell ringing and a real feeling of hope for a better future.

If only …



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