Review by Fran Edwards
When settling down to watch a production that has been directed by Dave Simms I know I can expect quality, and “Our Boys” is no exception. As always the attention to detail is great and the depth of characterization is strong. Six soldiers with varying injuries in a military ward; they deal with their fears and insecurities through the medium of comedy, pranking one another – but supporting each other through the tough times.
Each performance is carefully honed. The immature Mick, played by Nick Duddy, is naïve, insecure and picked on. His injury, a circumcision due to infection, causes much amusement to his mates, we watch him grow as the play progresses. James Edwards plays Parry, in a wheelchair due to losing most of his toes to frostbite. Parry is bitter, hostile to authority, with a sharp wit and a cruel edge, but values mateship above all.
Patrick Marlin is especially convincing as Ian, shot on patrol in Belfast; his head wound has caused paralysis and loss of speech. We see his gradual recovery, Marlin showing us the recovery beautifully. Keith, played by Leighton Voigt, is suffering from a strange leg numbness that the doctors can’t identify; his frustration and angst is well portrayed.
Adam Tuominen is Joe, the de-facto leader who sees himself as protector and generates much of the pranking. Joe’s loud exterior and jovial nature hides much of the damage that he carries from his injury in the IRA Hyde Park bombing – depths we don’t immediately see. The final patient (Lee Cook) is a ‘Rupert’ or officer, more specifically a ‘Potential Officer’ being put into a ward for lower ranks, creating suspicion because of his rank and his injury, which is not sustained from conflict but has them considering whether he is gay.
So many things could have been overdone but this production is finely tuned. The script by Jonathon Lewis is well written, the setting is realistic and well lit by Jason Groves, even the background music is well chosen. Above all the play has been well cast. Two performances stand out for me, Lee Cook who played one of the more difficult parts convincingly with sensitivity and Adam Tuominen whose final scene brought tears to my eyes. This is a show not to be missed.