DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Notice to Move – Northern Stage, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Reviewer: Anna Ambelez

A pair of double metal bunk beds frame the performance area flanked by two lockers. The stark, cold, basic, grey set reflects the lives of the soldiers living there. Corporal Rutter (Micky McGregor) stands in a spotlight getting a rollicking from Chopper (Daniel Watson) for having messed up an exercise resulting in death and injury.

Knobby (Carl Wylie) is quick to voice his opinion on the situation, backed up by Smudge (Jake Jarratt) and Sprog (Jack Lloyd). Lewis (Harriet Ghost) realising something is amiss with Rutter goes to commander Croft for advice, who carries out a TRiM test; result, six soldiers, already tense a week away from deployment, find themselves in a challenging situation, with Lewis trying to bring peace and sanity into the developing situation.

Theatre company, Blowin’ A Hooley, researched for three years working with veterans and members of the armed forces for this production, such as Operation Veteran, and Veterans Woodcraft. The overriding feel that came out of the stories told was mainly the personal moments shared, jokes played and the friendships that continue long after; not about the fighting, this is reflected in the exchanges between the characters.

The strong cast deliver convincing performances, leaving one wanting more. However the young married man, Smudge, with a baby, is the only character who has any real back story. The 40 minutes introduces the characters and situation but, with the wealth of material researched, it offers scope for further development. There is a short break after show, followed by a Q&A featuring McGregor and Ghost and four other representatives of the groups they had worked with. including two veterans and cast. This is a great opportunity to ask about the project and particularly to hear directly from veterans’ personal experiences – quite chilling and moving.

The TRiM (Trauma Risk Incident Management) test originated in The Royal Marines is now used in The Royal Navy and Army. It was designed for a commander to give support in the aftermath of traumatic events. Co-incidentally in the forces it is also slang for female genitalia. Some knowledge of these characters lives, would enrich the story, making them real people, not just ‘lads’ all thrown together. The subject tackled in Notice To Move, of stress and trauma suffered by veterans, is an important issue and there are plans to develop this project, so watch this space.

Reviewed on 12th November 2022.

The Reviews Hub Score

Tensely realistic

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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