Falkland Sound at RSC Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon Review

Falkland Sound at RSC Swan Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon Review


Posted 2023-08-21 by Alison in Birmingham follow

Tue 15 Aug 2023 - Sat 16 Sep 2023

Finally telling The Falklands War from the perspective of the islanders at the centre of the conflict, this new Royal Shakespeare Company(RSC) play isn't as grim as you might expect. As strange as it sounds, a joke is around almost every corner. Even its opening lines josh that it's a 'history play' of a kind.

Falkland Sound is an ambitious new production for the RSC that runs at The Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon until September 16. Award-winning Edinburgh Fringe writer Brad Birch has created residents' 74-day ordeal after flying out to spend time with them.

What he's come up with is a strong sense of community 'in their own words plus some dramatic licence - with all the love, humour, anger and sadness that comes with it.

It's been 41 years since The Falklands War but this new intriguing play transports the audience back to the 1980s with fantastic outfits and music including a rendition of Spandau Ballet's song 'Gold.'

In The Falklands, we see how the daily grind of gossip and farming is interrupted by an unexpected invasion by the Argentinians. While over in London, Margaret Thatcher's overzealous shoulder-padded spin-doctors are more worried about voters complaining about strikes and inflation (sound familiar?).

Character-led, the fear and anxiety between families on the island become more intense through the play as former friends start to turn on each other. Yet the humour works well to make the upsetting topic of war more palatable.

The stories of islanders plus soldiers from both sides overlap in what are often monologues. Maggie Thatcher's head symbolically fills the large screen while islanders clutch tightly to mini portable houses.

There's a good variety of voices too from a student to gritty widow, plus well-meaning Argentinian researcher Gabriel. Actor Eduardo Arcelus as Gabriel impresses showing the heavy burden of being innocently caught between the two sides. Joanne Howarth is hardly recognisable as Mrs Thatcher after spending much of the show as lovable granny Mrs Hargreaves.

Not only is it refreshing to hear the views of those from the overseas territory but also to see how Argentinian soldiers had such a passionate belief in their claim to what they call the Malvinas. That's in stark contrast to Joe Usher's earnest British soldier Robbie, who like many in the UK, is only just starting to find out how strong the feeling of islanders is to their sovereignty.

Captivating and fascinating, Falkland Sound is an enthralling, often funny, reminder of the importance of community. It's sincere but also hard-hitting and a real eye-opener to a notorious war. You'll walk away glad that you've seen it.

Falkland Soundfrom The RSC runs at The Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon until September 16.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

262054 - 2023-08-18 18:04:49


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