Review: A Family Beyond the Army

family-beyond-the-army_30573_thumbCategory Theatre
Genres new writing, theatre
Group Family Beyond The Army Charity Production
Venue Sweet Grassmarket
Times 16:00
Suitability 16+
Duration 1 hour

fivestars

 

 

 

Maintaining a good ‘work-life balance’ is hard enough for most of us but what if you’re separated from your loved one for months at a time and in danger of never seeing him again? That’s the tension at the heart of this gripping, poignant drama.

It opens with a blazing row between Scott and Lou.  She wants to know what’s troubling her soldier husband.  He bottles it all up.  He won’t tell.  He can’t tell.  She has no idea.  She wants to get inside his head but feels shut out?  How did things come to this?

We flash back to how Scott and Louise first awkward meeting at a wedding when Scott’s army pal Ben marries her friend, Sarah, through to their own marriage, Scott’s posting to the battlefields of Afghanistan, Lou’s pregnancy, the birth of their son and his first birthday. The script manages to avoid all the potential pitfalls in a powerful combination of  wry humour and pathos.

The staging for this was very simple, but worked really well.  Cast members stood in one of three frames facing the audience, enabling us to see the faces of  the speakers in all sides of every conversation.

We all have our views on the rights and wrongs of the Afghan conflict, but whatever position we take, we must recognise the sacrifices made by the families at home as well as the men and women sent to fight in far-flung war zones around the world. . This moving play gives it to us straight with no sugar-coating. Let’s not forget them, but do our damnedest to make sure that politicians who keep spouting nonsense about Britain ‘punching above its weight’ don’t throw away more lives of mothers’ sons or fathers’ daughters to satisfy their deluded ambitions.

Three service charities: Help for Heroes, Erskine and Scotty’s Little Soldiers share the proceeds from this production. Don’t miss it.

Reviewed by Dave Kerr

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