Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Rayne’

This packs a lot into less than two hours – a lot of experiences, a lot of punch and a lot of emotion. Developed as rehabilitation & therapy for injured servicemen and women, it is now a fully fledged work charting their experiences from enlistment to post-war return that stands alone as powerful theatre.

Writer Owen Sheers developed the play from interviews with soldiers returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. It covers their stories from when and why they first signed up through training to posting, experiences at the front, injury, hospitalisation and rehabilitation. It presents these people’s real lives with objectivity and without sentimentality. You never feel you are being lectured or having opinions forced upon you. The experiences speak for themselves and you are left to consider them for what they are.

The cast, half professional actors and half forces personnel, both ‘retired’ and serving, are uniformly excellent. Cassidy Little, a serving Royal Marine in the central performance of Charlie F has such charisma, presence and confidence that he blew me away. Stephen Rayne’s staging wastes no time, telling these stories effectively but succinctly. There’s even original music by the great Jason Carr, but it was the use of Anthony & the Johnsons Hope There’s Someone that moved me most. Please don’t think it must be earnest and worthy, because it’s not – it’s entertaining and often funny whilst at the same time illuminating.

This is important theatre that will hopefully come into London for a run longer than one day after it ends it’s current tour. I couldn’t make the Richmond or Bromley dates so I went to Colchester to see it and was very glad I did. Catch it in Truro or Manchester or keep your fingers crossed for more.

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