The Night Watch

Set in the Spanish war, The Night Watch is a gripping period drama. The ingeniously immersive set is a makeshift military church with an illuminated cross at one end, wooden planks lining the walls of a dim and narrow room. We sit on benches in the midst of the action, the narrow space in the middle becoming the performance area.

The mystery of the strange girl’s identity, her motives and fate are engaging until the end

A solider enters, dramatically illuminated in the doorway. Arriving late at night, he disturbs the peace of the church, carrying an unconscious, ragged figure in his arms. His commanding officer confronts him and as the action slowly unravels the third person is revealed to be a girl, dressed as a boy and plainly on the run.

The Night Watch is a tense psychological play that focuses on an individual story about war to comment on the wider whole. The script is really good but the acting doesn’t quite measure up. Although adequately portraying the key facets of the characters and creating some compelling moments of heightened emotion, the actors are generally too staid and cautious in their movements to be truly believable. Often resorting to heavy sighs and shouting, much of the pathos of the dialogue is lost.

The costumes are also disappointing, slapdash and ill-matched with too many modern elements (e.g. trousers and shoes), so that they let down the inventiveness of the set and break the carefully constructed illusion of the past.

Despite these failings, the mystery of the strange girl’s identity, her motives and fate are engaging until the end. Can she trust the senior officer who has promised to protect her?

Reviews by Lettie Mckie

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The Blurb

In the darkness, at the heart of a war, two soldiers await the approaching dawn. As the day grows nearer, a local girl is thrown into the lives of the men entrusted with keeping her country’s peace. Delilah’s fiery wits threaten to destroy the soldiers’ watch. But she’s keeping secrets of her own – secrets that threaten to alter the course of the war. In a world where bullets are a law unto their own, it only takes six shillings to turn three lives upside down. Presented in association with Jethro Compton Productions’s 2015 mentorship programme.