Writer: Cat Jones
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
Developed with ex-servicemen prisoners in Doncaster, Glory Dazed is a stark, engaging play about the impact returning from war has on entire communities. With incredibly funny and touching moments underscoring volatile situations, the play presents fully rounded characters and is both devastatingly realistic and sharply observant.
Returning to his hometown to find life irrevocably changed, Ray’s ex-wife doesn’t want to know him, he can’t see his kids, and he is both homeless and jobless. Unable to control his fits of rage he arrives at best friend Simon’s pub demanding to see Carla, covered in blood that is not his own. The story is simple yet achingly honest, exploring the bleak choice young men in the area have between the forces and prison and the easy path from the former to the latter. Katie West’s Leanne voices this with eloquent innocence and provides superb counterpoint throughout. Chloe Massey’s Carla is hard-faced and heart-breaking, struggling to find the man she loved within the psychotic shell of her ex, while Adam Foster gives a strong performance as Simon, anchoring this charged production.
With little support for soldiers returning home after experiencing horrendous events, this well-researched piece pulls no punches and asks hard questions about the damaging and dehumanising effect of warfare on the human psyche. Ray is a wounded animal, coming out fighting because it is all he knows and unable to adjust to a mundane life of TV and takeaways. Samuel Edward-Cook gives a magnificent central performance as Ray: quick with a quip one minute then flipping like a switch, powerfully dangerous yet strangely sympathetic. Throughout the piece there is always the tangible threat of violence, creating a suspense-filled hour. He literally bleeds for the role, and it is this integrity and investment in the role that makes this production truly glorious.
Until 26th August
Edinburgh Fringe: Glory Dazed – Underbelly,