13th Jun 2012 10:42am | By Louise Kingsley
Tensions run high in director Robert Hastie’s powerful revival of the late John McGrath’s 1966 drama of servicemen stationed in Cold War West Germany in 1954.
Cooped up together in a cramped hut when they’re not on duty outside in the bitter cold, a handful of gunners have been detailed to stand guard over an already obsolete anti-aircraft weapon.
Nominally under the shaky command of the youngest (an 18 year old lance bombardier whose main concern is for the night to pass without incident so that he can return to Blighty, as scheduled, for assessment as future officer material) they’re bursting to relieve the monotony of a pointless task – none more so than Charles Aitken’s intense O’Rourke, a volatile Irishman with a fatally self-destructive streak.
McGrath nails the futility of these young soldiers’ lives going to waste, and Robert Hastie’s rare and welcome revival is well served by all, especially Phil Cheadle’s hard-headed Flynn, at 32 the oldest and most self-controlled of the ill-assorted unit.
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