Reviewer: David Doyle
It is one hundred years since Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen met at Craiglockhart in Edinburgh while recovering from their involvement in the First World War. The meeting of two of the most important poets of their generation at a time of such importance for their society is one that has inspired many retellings. The anniversary provides a ripe opportunity at this year’s Fringe and it’s one that Flying Bridge Theatre have taken up to mixed results.
The revival of Stephen MacDonald’s Fringe First winning play centres largely on the relationship between the two men with the war that surrounds them being a secondary spectre for most of the piece. The front lines represented largely by snippets of poetry and the set design are an absence which is felt throughout the piece much to its detriment. While the relationship between the two men is pleasant enough the lack of focus on the horrors that surround the friendship is something that significantly detracts from the piece. There is little attention paid to the horrors of the frontline and a near total absence of that horror transplanted to Edinburgh.
Well constructed and well acted the piece is a meandering and pleasant, if slightly too long morning of theatre. An enjoyable portrait of two towering men of their generation, it’s hard to dislike the show but its inability to dredge up the war and the horrors of it aside from through the men’s poetry means that it lacks the bite that is needed to make it the powerful piece of theatre that the story demands.
Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed