The country remains split on the justification of the war currently being waged in the Middle East, but we all accept the bravery of those men and women who serve on the front line in our names. However, there is also a war being waged in the homes of the women and families left behind as they try to maintain normality, all the while not knowing if their loved one will return.
This is the basis of the play Soldiers Wives, a one woman play. Catherine Shipton of BBC Casualty fame brings a selection of female characters to life in this compelling and engrossing play written by Sarah Daniels.
The stories of these women are cleverly interwoven as we view their daily lives after their men have returned to the Middle East, following a spell of rest and relaxation. It initially appears that these women are more fearful of their men having affairs (and in one case of her husband being gay) than the ever present but unspoken worry that their job will cost them their lives.
The play is gripping from the very start as Shipton gives a tour de force performance. She is able to portray a volley of characters with complete conviction, altering both her manner and accent to fit with each woman. She is as adept at playing the cleaner of the major’s wife, as she is at playing the major’s wife herself. It’s when viewing the changes between characters that you appreciate the sheer skill of her work in the play. There were a couple of occasions where Shipton hesitated and indeed appeared to drop words from lines; while a small issue, this did affect the overall delivery of the play.
The play also brings home the reality of of the war in the Middle East, as husbands return with missing limbs, brain damage, and horrifying memories of the events witnessed. This is play that hits the mark and leaves the audience wondering what the real cost of the war in the Middle East is. Catch this extraordinary play and discover just why theatre on the Fringe continues to excel.