POWERFUL and poignant are two words that perfectly sum up Journey’s End, which started a five-night run at Brighton’s Theatre Royal on Tuesday, April 5.
The haunting World War One epic, written by R. C. Sherriff and based of his own experiences of the battle, is a sobering and humbling reminder of what the young soldiers of almost 100 years ago had to endure.
But far from being all doom and gloom throughout, it was the inclusion of the very British foibles of talking about the weather and chatting about what is for dinner that gave this play a very human, sometimes touching and quite often humourous touch.
All the action takes place in the officers’ dugout, in a battalion lead by Captain Stanhope, a young but brilliant leader, who has seen too many of the horros of war and survives only through consuming a heavy dose of whisky each day.
The play takes place over a four-day period, leading up to a big German attack.
We see the officers coming and going from stints on the front-line, and having the face the ever more terrifying realities of war.
The drama is punctuated through discusions at mealtimes, which is when Mason, the cook come comedy stooge comes into his own.
There is a protracted conversation about how the pineapple dessert turns out to be apricots, and it’s these little glimpses of normality that serve to remind you these were just normal people facing the most horrific of situations.
With a moving ending unlike anything I have seen before, Journey’s End is a realistic insight into one of the biggest moment in our country’s history.
For tickets for the show, which is on until Saturday, April 9, call 0844 871 7615.