ONE of our very own actors returns home to star in one of the great stories of our time, writes Paul Thomas.

Alice Brittain, 27, will step out on to the stage at her home town’s Theatre Royal in Windsor as Marguerite, the maid in the First World War love story, Birdsong, a part played by her older sister Emily Stride in its first production in 2013.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Birdsong is the hit, critically acclaimed stage show based on the world-famous novel by Sebastian Faulks.

In pre-war France, a young Englishman Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire that turns their world upside down.

As the war breaks out over the idyll of his former life, Stephen must lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and through the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground. Faced with the unprecedented horror of the war Stephen clings to the memory of Isabelle as his world explodes around him. A mesmerising story of love and courage set both before and during the Great War.

This compelling production of Birdsong has been seen by over 200,000 people and now it is your chance to experience this stunning piece of theatre live on stage.

Alice, who lost her mother, actor and voice-over specialist Susan Sheridan, who played Trillian in the BBC radio production of Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy is currently playing Marguerite at Woking.

Identical twin Alice, of Fairlight Avenue, Windsor, who’s dad is jazz guitarist Max Brittain told me: “I play the maid in a household which has a stifling atmosphere but in which there is a crazy love affair. These guys in the war were just lambs to the slaughter. We have had a brilliant military advisor called Tony Green to keep it respectful i n the recreation of the war. He said they didn’t see themselves as victims because they thought the war would be over by Christmas.

"The story is so powerful and it resonates with so many people because it touches on the personal elements. I read the story when I was at Windsor Girls’ School and I adapted it for a drama piece there. I feel so honoured and really privileged to be a part of this stories and making these men’s voices heard. Without the First World War there would have been no Second World War and there is an amazing scene at the end where people are saying ‘this will never happen again’ but of course it did. Now, more than ever it is really crucial that we tell the story.”

She adds: “I feel so lucky to be here playing this role because my older sister, Emily, palyed it first in 2013, and I am the last actor to play it at the end of this tour. It’s nice that as sisters we are bookends on this part.”

This stage version by Rachel Wagstaff; directed by Alastair Whatley with Charlotte Peters; designed by Victoria Spearing; lighting designed by Alex Wardle and soundd esigned by Dominic Bilkey.

Birdsong, Theatre Royal Windsor, Monday, March 26-Saturday, March 31. Box office: 01753 853888 or