Glory Dazed

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Red Stitch has done it again, bringing the bastardry of war to your local drinking hole.

It’s closing time, but those still at a grubby South Yorkshire pub are glued to its spirit-slicked floor, transfixed by a violent beating at the door. Bar staff Simon and Leanne stand alongside Carla, while her bloodied ex-husband, ex-serviceman Ray forces his way in, determined to win her back.

The intensity (akin to sharing a room with a grenade) is established from word go, and doesn’t falter for the duration of Cat Jones’ play. Her award winning script is doused in poignancy, foraying the permanent psychological blows dealt to soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq – “they come back in a box or off their box”.

While he single-handedly executes a veritable hostage situation, there’s an undeniable softness to Ray (flawlessly embodied by Andre De Vanny) and merciful, comedic peace offerings allow the audience to catch its breath. But the tension is unyielding – drinking games play out on the edge of a knife, and one foot wrong can trigger an explosion.

It’s hard to watch, but impossible not to.

There will be a Q&A with the cast on August 7th.

Red Stitch Actors Theatre
Rear 2 Chapel Street, St Kilda East
23rd July – 23rd August

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