Reviews - Fringe 2016

Theatre Of War: Ghosts and Mirrors

By Arthur Bullock
Published July 18, 2016

Waging war is never an easy task to undertake, but the responsibilities of those involved can vary considerably. In "Theatre Of War: Ghosts and Mirrors", we follow a group of soldiers stationed in France during World War 2, who have been given a very important top-secret assignment.

The squad consists of six people: Henry, Thomas, Royce, Parker, Francine and Captain Anderson. Henry is a Jew from the Catskills with a flair for the dramatic, and Thomas is his Yankee sidekick. Royce is an alcoholic racist, Parker is an intelligent Negro pacifist, and Francine is a tough nurse who doesn't tolerate disrespect.

Captain Anderson is the squad's new commanding officer, for whom returning to the war was an unexpected and undesired outcome.

The play focuses heavily on the characters themselves. Each member of the squad is a real person with a complex personality, and all of them are explored in great detail throughout the performance.

Much of the humour is derived from the soldiers' individual quirks, and the ways in which these quirks interact with each other. Similarly, the show's plot is driven by interactions between the members of the squad, and their own interpersonal conflicts are a much more immediate threat that the looming, distant German army.

Despite its comedic focus, the play also discusses important themes such as death, sacrifice and prejudice. As the characters' descriptions suggest, not all of the squad's members are respectful when discussing these matters, but the portrayal of their perspectives is realistic and respectful.

"Theatre Of War: Ghosts and Mirrors" is a play that deliberately and effectively mixes comedy and drama. The result is a performance that tells an important story and gives you new perspectives to think about, while still allowing you to have a good time.

Arthur Bullock is studying communications at McMaster University.

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