Two rather remarkable things happened at Frinton Summer Theatre’s production of Private Peaceful on the first night.

I’ve been covering the longest running summer rep in the country for more than 15 years now and I have never heard the National Anthem being sung at the start.

Perhaps that had something to do with the play we were about to see, staged to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The other was I’ve never witnessed a standing ovation before.

That’s not to say the acting hasn’t been worthy of such an accolade in the past, it’s just never felt an absolute must before.

But after sweating, literally, his whole heart and soul on that stage, it didn’t seem at all appropriate not to stand for Will Taylor.

Artistic director Clive Brill said we would be hard pressed to see a better performance all year, let alone at Frinton, and he may well be right.

Because in years to come when you’re watching some young actor pick up a Bafta, or possibly even an Oscar, you can smugly say, you first saw him at Frinton.

Will’s performance in Michael Morpurgo’s World War I story is a proper tour de force and what makes it all the more remarkable is that Will hasn’t been to drama school.

He studied politics at Sheffield, although by his own admission he spent more time rehearsing plays than in the lecture theatres.

It shouldn’t make a difference in any critical analysis and even if he’d been to RADA, I would still be singing his praises to the highest hilt, but it just goes to show all those budding young actors who perhaps didn’t get in this year - don’t give up on your dreams or your passions.

Of course it helps to have an incredible tale, brilliantly adapted for the stage by Simon Reade, which allows an actor to demonstrate his capabilities as different characters come vividly to life with simple nuances. A doff of the cap here to present an army major, a tilting of the head there to reveal a young woman.

Director Mike Harris must take some credit for this, as well as a beautiful sparse set and an evocative light and sound scape, especially when the artillery starts to ring out over the trenches.

The simple use of props was also very effective, especially the bed turning into barbed wire, and the significance of the watch.

But this is an actor’s piece and so in turn it’s Will who has to deliver the show, all 90 minutes of it, with laughter, sorrow and high drama.

If you’re looking for theatre of the very highest quality, may I suggest you get over to Frinton because this little gem is a joy to behold.