The New Wolsey Theatre
7 February 2017
Following his excellent The Two Worlds of Charlie F, staged a few years ago, writer Owen Sheers revisited his research material and out of the interviews carried out with young soldiers returning from conflict, he has created Pink Mist, which can be viewed as a companion piece to the earlier play. Originally written for radio, the powerful script also focuses on the reaction of the women at home, wife, girlfriend and mother, who face an entirely different man to the boy that went to war.
The production is a perfect mesh of words, movement and sound. Performed basically on two square white canvases, one on the floor, the other behind the cast to capture the highly effective lighting design, with a wheelchair and bench being the only set, the rhythm and pace of the piece is excellent. What makes this verbatim piece work theatrically is the excellent movement direction by directors John Retallack and George Mann, the company constantly in motion as friends Taff, Arthur and Hads take us through their stories, from joining up to returning.
This is an excellent ensemble. Arthur, chief narrator, encouraging the others to join up with him, is a confident and engaging performance from Dan Krikler. Each story is harrowing, but very sensitively dealt with, and Krikler delivers the final sequence of Arthur’s story beautifully. Equally strong is Alex Stedman as Hads, returning from war as a double amputee and struggling to cope, and Peter Edwards gives a highly convincing and heartfelt performance as Taff, mired in the pink mist of evaporated bodies killed by Blue on Blue action, (The words friendly fire are no longer used), suffering from PTSD and becoming homeless. He is matched by a wonderful performance by Rebecca Killick as his girlfriend Lisa, and Rebecca Hamilton and Zara Ramm complete this excellent cast.
The script is poetic and powerful, Sheers taking his time to build to a moving conclusion- which does offer hope for some of the characters- etching deep images onto our brains. Catch this extraordinary production on its tour; it has a quiet anger that says more than a hundred plays that shout for your attention.
Until 9 February 2017