Between the Crosses

Will Huggins

Flying Bridge Theatre Ltd

Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall

From 11 August 2017 to 16 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

While we lament on the doomed youth and heroise the tragic fallen in war, what becomes of those who never fell, but came home to a world lacking the understanding and the skill to help them?

This is one of the questions arising from Will Huggins's play Between the Crosses, a surprisingly cheerful and occasionally laughter-provoking account of the late Edgar Huggins, a soldier in the Durham Light Infantry and survivor of World War One.

Through the use of a blackboard, a few pieces of chalk and a handful of props, Huggins recounts the history of his Great Uncle's journey through The Great War and obliquely shows the horrors untold through the real-life recorded account of the man, mercifully repeating the, at times, garbled and indistinct recordings made "with awful microphones" as well as enacting some conversations in full, and in accent.

It creates a vivid and personal picture of a very real man, with simple and achievable goals and the drive to complete them, a man whose life and plans were thrown hither and yon by war and yet, in years to come, he'd laugh, joke and be quite dismissive of the battles and death he'd seen.

Huggins manages to create a genuine sympathy for a man he clearly held dear, if never really knew, and within the scant details recorded on the Imperial War Museum interviews and the official war record, there's the story of a man, one hidden from view but utterly evoked by the performance.