Next Generation of British Acting Talent
There are some things in this world that are inescapable. According to Uberfacts, the most reliable of reliable sources, “in the last 3,500 years, there have been only about 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world.” It is little wonder that war is at the forefront of our consciousness, therefore, this subject can be found on the stage. It is only in recent years that the effects of war have not been on the epic and noble, but the common man involved, the traumatised Privates are the focus of our media and our stages.
The cast is filled with the next generation of acting talent including Cian Barry, Arthur Darvill and Laurence Fox. Some have experience on a West-End stage, for Matthew Lewis and Lewis Reeves, this is their debut, and what a play to make a debut on. ‘Our Boys’ is a light hearted play on a serious subject matter, the men injured during conflicted. The ward is occupied by five young soldiers, some on the road to recovery and some are becoming part of the furniture. But things change when POM (Potential Officer Menzies) enters their room. POM represents ‘the system’, the bureaucracy that is the bane of every private’s life and stops them from partying and drinking alcohol in the hospital.
The writing is immature and laugh out loud hysterical. Playwright, Jonathan Lewis, wrote from experience. Like POM, played by Jolyon Coy, Lewis’ education was funded by the army and he spent time in an army hospital with pilonidal sinus. He and the director, David Grindley have injected life and spirit in to the play that the tragedy is almost forgotten. The boys are in high spirits and can find the funny side to their predicaments. It is not until the end that the audience come crashing back to reality with Joe’s, Laurence Fox, heart breaking and graphic monologue.
As Sandi Toksvig’s ‘Bully Boy’ and this play highlights, soldiers have an uncanny ability to use humour to distance themselves from what is actually happening. However, this is not healthy; humour can only go so far. ‘Our Boys’ has magical (sorry Neville, I mean Matthew Lewis) formula for success: bright and talented stars, a belly aching script and eagle eyed director. Despite being set in 1984 and first performed in 1993, ‘Our Boys’ is a timeless classic.