Set in the Falklands War, four British soldiers billet in a local farmhouse
where they battle out the moral and political dilemma of orders to kill an
injured American mercenary that they've dragged into the home. In theory
it's a thought-provoking drama from Australian playwright Meredith Oakes. In
practice, at least where this production's concerned, it gets bogged down by
an over philosophising script and messy, at times shambolic, staging.
But maybe they're just having a bad night. On one occasion a picture fell
off a wall and what started as some quick thinking improvisation by
Lieutenant-Corporal Adam Ziller (Stanley Eldridge), ordering the timid
Private Lee Finch (Alexander Wolfe) to 'pick it up' ended with it being
clumsily bandied about before the insidious little thing somehow landed in
front of the doorway for incoming actors to trample all over. It seemed that
a humble poster had the power to bring about the downfall of the production.
This wasn't the only incident on the night I saw it as on more than one occasion poor
delivery caused some lines to be spoken simultaneously. There are no
sympathetic parts, save perhaps a smidgen for the boyish Finch, while Sergeant
Toby Spiers (Ian Sharp) comes across as a wholly unconvincing soldier, not helped by a full-grown cuddly beard.
The towering Ziller is at least believable as the hard nut of the squad but
in a script littered with abrupt expletives, in which he's required to
deliver the majority, his aggression is far too caustic and uncomfortably overstated.
You would have thought an element of warmth would come from Sandra (Georgina
Sutton), who at first frequently protests at the presence of the soldiers
who have commandeered her cottage, but who confesses that her decision to
move there was spurred by the desire to 'get away from all the wogs' and
later develops an inexplicable desire for Ziller.
Ex-EastEnders star Charlie Clements as Private Mick Pike is billed as the
top draw but he's the most unnoticeable of the lot, even more so than Larry
(Mawgan Gyles) who spends the best part of the entire show playing dead
right in the middle of all the action. Seeing Faith felt, pure and
simple, like a waste of time.