Days of Significance
Alex Wood | 18 Mar 2012 23:47pm
I looked forward to seeing this play which promised to tell us about ‘boozy and reckless young men who join the British Army to fight a war about which they know nothing’. It follows a group of young people through a night out in south London, to a shoot-out in Basra, Iraq and back home to a mate’s wedding. In many respects the performance I saw was of high quality. A generous semi-circular performance area made room for an excellent set which was a club interior, a street, a hotel and its garden where a wedding reception is taking place and a shoot-out scene in Iraq with a stairway giving another dimension. This was complemented with a lighting design which directed the audience’s attention from one piece of the action to the next. Sound was also carefully selected to create exactly the right moods. I also liked the use of the big screen to show Skype messaging which degenerated from a scared, desperate and lonely soldier chatting with his girlfriend to the crazy pandemonium when his mates decide to join him in sending his girl their ‘message’ too. The acting is hard to fault. The actors had clearly worked hard and had been well-directed. I particularly liked the first scene which captured the frenetic, sweaty, lascivious atmosphere of a club. The scenes with the police officers injected some much needed humour into the show – though I am not totally clear what purpose they served. The Basra scene got over the huge tension which would be felt in this situation – assisted by excellent costume and attention to make-up. And the closing scene in which the desperately needy Hanna offers herself to her stepfather was a worthy climax to the play. There was a lot of fighting which showed total but also absolutely competent commitment. The ensemble worked excellently – no mean feat when at times up to 20 actors were on stage – but I felt two actors were outstanding. In this student cast Adam Patrick Boakes was a totally credible stepdad to Hanna, an intelligent girl who seems to have all sorts of difficult issues going on, not least the challenge of committing to Dan, one of the soldiers. Hanna’s role was played with confidence and sensitivity by Kirsty J Curtis. I am as certain as I can be that these faults were caused by the writing, rather than the direction. Which, as this piece was specially revised for the students, was a pity.
- : admin
- : 12/03/2012