Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on interviews conducted by playwright Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq. Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground, the play reveals what it means to be part of the legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the ‘war on terror’ and what it means to make the journey home again.
Its run at the Barbican is part of a larger NTS world tour, which has seen the production travel to Los Angeles, New York, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and is due to return to New York later in the year. Black Watch has won a number of awards including a South Bank Show Theatre Award, a Scotsman Fringe First, and a Critics’ Circle Award (Best Director), as well as being nominated for Best Regional Production in the 2007 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards.
Directed by John Tiffany, the touring production features several of the original cast members, including David Colvin, Paul James Corrigan, Ali Craig and Emun Elliott. It’s choreographed by Frantic Assembly’s Steven Hoggett, with music arranged by Davey Anderson and Gareth Fry.
The reaction of London critics chimed with the almost unanimous praise the piece received when it was first seen north of the border in August 2006. The “rich, exciting, humane and moving” production went down a treat in its traverse stage arrangement at the Barbican. Directed with “dazzling virtuosity”, and acted by a “credibly fit, hard and potentially dangerous” cast, Black Watch was hailed all over again as an “epoch-defining”, “landmark event” that serves as a “feather in the cap of Scotland's peripatetic National Theatre”.
- by Theo Bosanquet