Satire is pretty much dead these days, the awfulness of reality putting paid to a wonderful art form.

The likes of Yes, Prime Minister, That Was The Week That Was and The Day Today just wouldn’t get made.

And, while Have I Got News For You is still occasionally funny, its style of humour has shifted at bit from satire to name-calling.

That’s why the arrival of a six-decades old satirical musical into Lighthouse this week was so refreshing.

Oh What A Lovely War may have been created in 1963 by that formidable and influential ‘dame’ of British theatre, Joan Littlewood, but is absolutely relevant today.

Its take on the First World War – the reasons, the personalities, the sheer ineptitude of the politicians, the crassness of commanders, the terrible decision-making, the uncaring nature of leaders and the unquestioning Tommys who march to their inevitable deaths – is as powerful as ever.

The name came from the old 1917 musical song of the same name made famous by performer Ella Shields and features prominently in this production, opening act two.

First performed by Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in the Theatre Royal Stratford East, it eventually transferred to the West End, despite the best objections of the family of Field Marshall Douglas ‘Butcher’ Haig, who does not come out of this very well at all.

This 60th anniversary (and beyond) touring production by Blackeyed Theatre, directed by Nicky Allpress, beautifully set by Victoria Spearing, minimally costumed by Naomi Gibbs and with wonderful musical direction by Ellie Verkerk, features a young cast of six, all graduates of the Rose Bruford College.

The setting is an undetermined and tented musical hall, or a wartime variety show (think ENSA or It’s Ain’t Half Hot Mum) with wartime images, slogans and shockingly dreadful facts shown on a screen high at the rear.

Each of the cast, many with Pierrot face and costume, plays multiple roles with, generally, hats depicting which side they are on. They are actor-musician all-rounders, not only singing, but interchanging on a large variety of instruments (I lost count) across a spirited, physical and perfectly-choreographed two-hour performance.

The ensemble of Tom Benjamin, Tom Crabtree, Harry Curley, Alice E Mayer, Chioma Uma and Euan Wilson works supremely well together and, while it is unfair to single out individuals, Curley was exceptionally good, particularly as a drill sergeant.

They seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly portray hundreds of characters – from awful politicians to humble soldiers of both sides led like lambs to the slaughter– in this whistlestop and emotionally strong battlefields tour of 1914-18.

At the same time the dreadful statistics are being flashed on to the screen – 850,000 allied casualties in the first year, 60,000 men lost on the first day of the Somme, 1.332 million in total at that battle and the four-minute average lifespan of a machine gunner under fire.

All this is juxtaposed with jollity and music. Songs such as Keep The Home Fires Burning, Pack Up Your Troubles, It’s A Long Way to Tipperary, Hold Your Hand Out You Naughty Boy, Roses Of Picardy, Good-Bye-ee and the singalong Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts.

Oh What A Lovely War hasn’t dated, remains hugely entertaining and is a fun night out – while still exposing the ridiculousness, cruelty and sheer bleakness of life in the trenches.

If there is a better denunciation of the folly, futility and tragedy of war then I’ve yet to see it. Sadly, wars continue.