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About Tommy review at Southwark Playhouse London

UNPROFOR, the biggest, most complex and most expensive operation in United Nations history, aimed to keep the peace between the Serbs and Croats during the Balkans conflict. Nicknamed SERBROFOR because the Serbs took advantage of it, arguably it created as many problems as it solved, not least for those serving in it. Danish writer Thor Bjorn Krebs examines the contradictions and failures from the perspective of Danish recruit Tommy.

Tommy, played by Gwilym Lee, is not the first angry young man to find difficulty communicating his experience to naive-seeming parents and their distance from him is conveyed with pathos-tinged humour by transforming them into Humpty Dumpty-like dolls perched on top of the sandbag wall of the set.

Voices are provided by Rachel Atkins as a sock-knitting mum and Roger Ringrose as a disillusioned dad.

If the parents are remote, the audience feels fully drawn in as Lee is joined by just two other actors: Hywel Morgan as comrade-in-arms Niels and Beatrice Curnew as a brisk captain, a chaplain and a relatively raunchy nurse.

The three give the impression of a regiment and this entirely believable and economical drama doesn’t need the video footage screened and rewound on televisions embedded in the sandbag wall. We already know the traumas will never stop playing in Tommy’s head.

Production Information

Southwark Playhouse, London, March 31-April 25

Thor Bjorn Krebs, translated by David Duchin
Elly Green
Brother Tongue
Cast includes
Gwilym Lee, Beatrice Curnew, Hywel Morgan, Rachel Atkins, Roger Ringrose
Running time
1hr 20mins

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