The Political Background of the Play “Our Boys”

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Based on Jonathan’s own army experience, Our Boys is both explosively funny and honest. The play takes place in a four beds bay in the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital in Woolwich.

It is the spring of 1984; this is almost 2 years following the start of the Falklands war, a time when the British troops were sent to the South Atlantic, thousands of miles far away in order to reclaim the islands, which only a few had heard of before, and was seized by the Argentinian military.

During the same timing, the IRA conducted a widespread bombing campaign whereby members of the armed services including those who were off-duty were depicted as legitimate targets. Although the political background forms an essential part of ‘Our Boy’s plot, the story does not focus on it.

With charges of looming misconduct and accusations fly, the fighting starts. Our Boys remains very relevant now as just like it was in 1993 when it won the Best New Play award, fired by neglect of our wounded heroes’ anger. The play is a production worth seeing, although more for its educational value and social commentary than for politics and entertainment.

This first West End production originates from a creative team which was behind international hit Journey’s End. Our Boys played for a strictly limited 12-week season this autumn, the West End’s intimate Duchess Theatre beginning 26th September to 15th December 2012. The London cast composes;

  • Lewis Reeves
  • Arthur Darvill
  • Jolyon Coy
  • Laurence Fox
  • Cian Barry, and
  • Matthew Lewis

The many soldiers serving in HM Forces, who are sent to fight in remote corners of bloody conflicts around the globe, and often result in being killed or maimed. Their work does not, however, stop there. In the event of a crisis, the soldiers are needed to offer a hand to all manner of tasks which include delivering fuel, firefighting, and even providing security for Olympic Games in the event private contractors fail to achieve their obligations.

Lewis has developed each one of the six characters as individuals as well as their mercuric interrelationships. A school boy’s timid fear replaces their general lack of respect for authority, as they face their dubious futures and maladies.

In the end, a lot has been resolved even though we are left with little to cling on to which redeems their camaraderie as wounded warriors. With that said, one of them becomes hospitalized for a circumcision, and another for a bowel problem, none of which has connected them to military service.

With all this damning, the Beer Hunter scene appears to be a refreshing bit of theatre. Their abilities taking the Mick becomes excellent fun for any actor. All in all, perhaps one should be British enough finding the intended pity for the wounded warriors in the mid-1980’s from the Falkland skirmish.

Jonathan Lewis’s play is rapturously received once it was seen at Derby Playhouse in 1995, and then at London’s Donmar. In the revival of David Grindley’s strongly cast, it strikes one as a piece decent enough, although lacks in real anger the way servicemen who are disabled are often thrown on to the scrapheap and the over-reliant on the army comedy conventions.

There is also, in the character of Menzies, a person who is a potential officer and suddenly thrusting into an occupied casualty’s ward of the Northern Ireland and Falklands conflicts, as was Lewis.

The play has captured the squaddies’ inherent distrust for the outsider with vivid accuracy, and their high military ideals contempt. Someone protests that one does not do it for Queen and Country, but for their mates, as well as their need of inventing ways to alleviate the deadly boredom.

One involves played with beer cans, a variation, from The Deer Hunter Russian roulette scene. Lewis ends up leaving the truth about, Joe, the group’s seemingly confident leader, until very late in the day.

He never makes to grips with the authorities’ dismal failure treating or understanding post-traumatic stress disorder: what is gotten is a military life vigorous slice, but one that lacks a good hint of indignation savage.

As a celebration of small-town values, what Hoosiers did for hoops, Our Boys does for football. “It’s about the journey,” says Coach Roger Barta. Even though living in the fifth-poorest county in the state, Barta wants his boys to “dream big.”

To play the game is easy, he proclaims, “but living for others is a lot harder,” just like being a politician to serve others is as hard.

The acting is incredible. Just like Joe, Laurence Fox has precisely the right artificial swagger. Arthur Darvill, as a sit-down comedian, and dangerously chirpy, in conjunction with Jolyon Coy as the putative officer and Cian Barry as a brooding Ulsterman all impress. As much as one is entertained, one finds themselves hungering for a political passion hint of John McGrath’s Events.


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