Journey’s End: Lighthouse, Poole
It may be more than 80 years since RC Sherriff’s painfully revealing First World War drama was first presented on the London stage but Journey’s End still has the power to move contemporary audiences to tears.
It focuses on the lives of a small company of British soldiers in the mud and misery of the trenches.
Set in the final months of a war that would cost more than a million British lives, it explores the tensions, and fears as they prepare to repel an impending German attack.
Christopher Harper plays company commander Captain Stanhope, a one-time clean-cut sporting hero who, at 21, is already a veteran of three years on the front line - and an alcohol-soaked wreck.
Tom Hackney is Raleigh, the young officer who once idolised Stanhope on the school rugger pitch but soon discovers the brutal truth about war and the men who really give the orders.
Graham Seed, best known as Nigel Pargetter in The Archers, plays the steady, mature and wise second in command, Osbourne. They have one thing in common - an unquestioning acceptance that they must obey orders whatever they are. Each deals with it in his own very different way. With a great set, lighting and sound and genuinely believable costumes, this is a fine reading of Sherriff’s play made all the more relevant by the rising death toll in Afghanistan.