Wednesday, 14 October 2009

NOTES: "My Real War 1914-?"

As we enter poppy season, it's not uncommon for culture to turn its own eye towards the military and the sacrifices made by countless numbers of young men (and more recently women) for their country. The soldier's tale, one of mud and sweat and death, maintains both a fascinating and horrific look at the best and worst of humanity at once, and the utmost respect is due to anybody who signs up for the job.

Constructed around the letters of one Lieutenant Le Mesurier (his first name is conspicuously absent from the publicity materials), My Real War 1914-? is a superbly created one-man show (Le Mesurier, or Lem, is stunningly played by Philip Desmeules). Largely educational, intensely personal, and appropriately brief (80 minutes no interval), it is a pity that the text and performance are undermined by some unnecessary voiceovers and at times unnecessary or misused projections.

That said, I wish the schoolgroup who came to see Othello had seen this instead. The Great War is such a vital part of the English conscious that our pitiful turnout (some 20 people in Studio 2) was a disgrace to performance and memory alike.

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