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Glory Dazed, Soho Theatre, Review 2Cat Jones’ new play Glory Dazed, exploring the effects of war on returning soldiers and the difficulties of integrating back into society, opened at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012 and is now running until 11th May at the Soho Theatre.

Things are tense from the off as a manic and blood-splattered  Ray, a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan, forces his way into a Doncaster pub in the middle of the night in a desperate attempt to get his wife, Carla (Chloe Massey), and children to run away to Brighton with him. He is met by sensible landlord, Simon (Adam Foster), who is now dating Carla and the barmaid, Leanne (Kristin Atherton). Over the course of an hour, we discover the truths of Ray’s past and his relationship with Carla.

There are strong performances throughout, tensions between Ray, Carla and Simon interrupted by naive comments from Leanne. Samuel Edward-Cook plays the unstable Ray, swinging between erratic violence and inner turmoil at such a pace we are left short of breath. It is a remarkable performance, thoroughly terrifying and utterly believable.

Jones’ writing is truly excellent. Fast paced and darkly comic, it is an insightful look at the psychological effects of war. Together with Second Shot Productions, a theatre and film company based in HMP & YOI Doncaster who work with serving prisoners and ex-offenders, director Elle While has created a piece of theatre that is entertaining and yet very relevant. Created through workshops with ex-servicemen, Glory Dazed feels perceptive and personal.

Glory Dazed is extraordinary, simple in its construction but with content that is complex, intense and thought-provoking. This is not a production that you want to miss.

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Reviewed 24/04/2013

By Amy Lawrence

23rd Apr – 11th May 2013
Soho Theatre, London, W1.

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