Glory Dazed

Cat Jones

Second Shot Productions

Underbelly

From 02 August 2012 to 26 August 2012

Rating: *****

Review by Philip Fisher

Ray is a psychopath. If nothing else, this gives Samuel Edward-Cook the chance to turn in a fearsome acting performance that may not be matched on the Fringe this year.

The squaddie has returned home to Doncaster to see his ex-wife and kids but arrives with a blood-stained tee-shirt that tells its own tale.

Chloe Massey’s Carla is sensibly in hiding, having felt the power of Ray’s tongue and fists too often in the past. However, hiding out with her new flame, publican Simon played by Adam Foster, isn’t that great an idea, especially when he is Ray’s best mate. 

For an hour, Cat Jones allows her audience to explore what fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq can do to a tough guy. To describe Ray as unpredictable is polite, since he threatens not only Simon and Carla but also Katie West as the humorously dumb teen barmaid Leanne.

While there is comedy in Glory Dazed, it becomes a hard-nosed, in-depth exploration of the mental traumas that war can cause to its participants but also their loved ones.

Everyone involved in this tremendous Old Vic New Voices production is to be congratulated, including director Ellie While who quietly covers up the play’s minor weaknesses to ensure that its impact is hardly diminished from start to finish.