Journey’s End – UK Tour

It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.

An impending German attack looms over Captain Stanhope’s dugout and Journey’s End gives us an insight into the experiences of the officers of a British Army infantry company during that fateful First World War.

This 1928 play by R.C. Sherriff – based on his own experience in the trenches – takes place over four days from 18 March 1918 to 21 March 1918, portraying the lead up to the imminent German attack.

Directed by James Tobias and produced by Immersion Theatre Company, Journey’s End boats an 8 strong cast who express this compelling, thought-provoking play with the tenderness and emotion it deserves.

Tom Grace as the main character Stanhope takes some warming up to at first as it is unclear in which direction he will take his character but quickly becomes a strong lead in a challenging role. Grace manages to capture the psychotic nature of Stanhope who relies on drinking a bottle of whisky a day to cope with the stress that the war has caused him whilst his behaviour fluctuates between the erratic and the depressed.

Matt Ray Brown is thoroughly endearing as Osborne, the oldest of the officers, affectionately referred to as ‘Uncle’ by the rest of the men. His good nature and quiet thoughtfulness made for a realistic character that evoked empathy from the audience as an older, more experienced officer.

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Rory Fairbain was captivating as the young, innocent Raleigh who joins the company much to Stanhope’s dismay. Fairbain portrays Raleigh’s enthusiasm for fighting on the front line, just like many young men fresh from school, which leaves a lingering sense of despair for the audience.

John Rayment added much-needed sprinklings of lighter comedic moments as the food-loving, ever-cheerful Trotter. Alexander Tol was convincing as Hibbert who was mentally suffering the trauma of being at war.

Sheriff’s play is very dialogue-heavy. The entire play takes place in the claustrophobic dugout where the men eat their meals, socialise and make vital plans. Whilst the drama is gripping, mainly due to the portrayal of the relationship between the officers, any real action takes place off stage. The build up to the German Attack felt like it was readying the audience for much more than we got emotionally at the end of the play.

This is a strong production that will stir up many emotions for any audience member. This production does its job by bringing the tragedy of war to the stage, and showing us the various ways in which humanity coped with it.

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The show continues it’s UK Tour for ONE PERFORMANCE at each venue. For tour details and tickets please visit: http://www.immersiontheatre.co.uk/journeys-end/

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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