Much Further Out Than You Thought

Giles Robert

The MolinoGroup

Underbelly, Cowgate

From 06 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: **

Review by Keith Mckenna

The impact of war on British soldiers does not end when they return to the UK. The stress and anxiety of their war service can linger for many years, sometimes flaring up in unpredictable ways. This is the subject of Giles Roberts’s new play, Much Further Out Than You Thought.

Giles Roberts plays James Randall, a former Lance Corporal who, at the start of the play, is sitting in the armchair of his living room on Remembrance Sunday watching the London ceremony on television.

Switching this off, he begins to compose a birthday message to his young son Danny. He is alone, his family no longer lives with him and he is plagued by thoughts of his time as a serving British soldier in Helmand province Afghanistan.

The message to his son is meant to be loving and upbeat, but it keeps sinking beneath memories of nearly dying in a battle in Afghanistan in which his friend was killed. It was also a battle in which he felt compelled to kill someone else. We gradually learn something of the damage that war has done to his family.

Randall’s monologue is intense and at times disturbing. The stories he tells are believable and serious raising important questions about the damage that can be caused by the post traumatic stress of war.

Unfortunately, the characters he describes never really come alive making it difficult to care about them. It was also fairly clear where the monologue was heading and this reduced the dramatic tension.

Yet for all that the audience responded enthusiastically to this thoughtful show.