Until Sat Dec 15 2012
© Geraint Lewis
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Fri Oct 5 2012
The six young soldiers in Jonathan Lewis's angry, tragic 1993 comedy have swapped their khaki fatigues for bandages, pyjamas and a run-down military hospital in Woolwich. They bicker and moan, but there are broken men underneath their banter.
David Grindley directs a convincing revival, nailing the comedy to the wall and allowing the underlying sense of bitterness and betrayal to speak for itself. The ensemble cast spark off each other brilliantly: Lewis Reeves brings a great sensitivity to his portrayal of Ian, who struggles to control his body and his speech following a bullet to the head, and Arthur Darvill is superb as wheelchair-bound Parry.
The play suffers from its fragmented structure, and there are too many short scenes that splinter the dramatic tension, but it has a painful truth at its centre. The army hasn't weaponised these men, it has infantilised these soldiers who hide beer from matron like cheeky schoolboys, tug teasingly at each other's cocks and phone home to mum. The army doesn't send men to die: it sends boys.