By R. C. Sherriff
The Lowry, 8 November 2011
This is a vividly rendered production of R. C. Sherriff’s classic play.
It conveys an authentic portrait of men at war. There are many hours of waiting; plenty of bureaucracy and bullshit to handle, and that in about equal measure; and a big dollop of carnage, atrocity and horror. You can be assured that time spent in the service of your country will be like that.
If there’s one charge to be levelled against the play, it is that it tells the tale from the officer’s side only. That’s true also of Housman’s anthology, War Letters of Fallen Englishmen, which was published around the same time (1930), and most of the poets. For a rounded view of the British soldier’s experience of the First World War, you really should read Her Privates We as well.
The play in this production culminates in a cataclysmic, even overpowering ending. It is a brilliant piece of theatre overall.
Journey’s End is at The Lowry until 12 November, details here.