A play of friendships, fears and frailties with a liberal sprinkling of f-words. Land of our Fathers at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds grips you by the throat and makes you listen. It immerses you in what, to the outside world might seem like a minor drama – no pun intended. To the protagonists it is their world, their life, their death.
This brilliantly written and directed piece consists of long pieces of fast flowing dialogue balanced against uncomfortable, awkward silences. And then there is the dark. For short periods that seem like forever, the theatre is in complete blackout. The only sound the shuffling of the cast and the occasional whisper.
Naturally, being set in a Welsh mine, there is singing. Curly’s rendition of Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements” as a way to woo women and Julie’s “Favourite Things” for boosting morale shone in the darkness, not perhaps what you might expect from burly miners.
After the intermission the play focused on the delirium and visions brought on by days trapped underground and the growing realisation of the reality that there might not be a happy ending. Secrets hinted at in the first half were explored, and confirmed as characters developed and roles reversed.
If you like your theatre light and fluffy where everyone lives happily ever after, then this perhaps is not the production for you. If you appreciate powerful, thought provoking drama, expertly directed and delivered with passion, then I have no hesitation in recommending Land of our Fathers.
Chopper Cornelius Booth
Bomber John Cording
Curly Tomos Eames
Chewy Taylor Jay-Davies
Hovis Robert Jezek
Mostyn (Julie) Joshua Price
Producers: Theatre 503, Tara Finney Productions & Wales Millennium Centre
Director: Paul Robinson