As the final part of Come As You Arts Northwest's anti-war trilogy Justin
McGregor has written and directed a well researched documentary play from a
The key question it poses is: Was Picasso’s Guernica covered when
it was needed the most? Tony Blair and George W. Bush requested that Pablo
Picasso’s Guernica, which hung at the UN, be covered up before they made
their case for going to war.
McGregor takes this anecdote and weaves it
into a tale of the impact of war. David Crowley is Ben a sergeant recently
returned from the war. His post-traumatic stress disorder is made worse the
pills he is given and he is subject to visions.
Elizabeth Lowe is very
genuine as his concerned sister Hannah who persuades him to live with her. To
also bring in a lodger who happens to be a young lady from Afghanistan seems
to go a little to far for an already busy play. And then there is the
occasional appearance from Picasso and Wordsworth.
This is a documentary play; it weaves real dates and real accounts and words into the
fabric of the play. And like many verbatim pieces this is what stands out
the most. Anthony Quinlan is superb as George - a soldier whose letters are the
real words of servicemen who died in the war. When he reads their words,
manages to conjure up a dusty terrain and unbearable heat all with a gentle
At times the intense research results in a story spiked with
different angles- which is sometimes muddled. But the interesting questions raised by Lonely Clouds
of Guernica - coupled with some fine performances make it a play well worth seeing.