The Two Worlds of Charlie F

Owen Sheers

Bravo 22 Company

Pleasance Courtyard

From 01 August 2012 to 19 August 2012

Rating: ****

Review by Graeme Strachan

It's not often you are confronted with the true cost of global conflict presented in dealing with the trauma of a debilitating injury sustained in conflict.

In The Two Worlds of Charlie F, we see the full human cost of warfare on the troops centre stage as a troupe of actors and real-life servicemen act out the stories of sustained physical and psychological injuries.

The titular character, Charlie F, is played with an easy-going charm by the Canadian-born Cassidy Little, a real-life Royal Marine. The character serves as a modern-day Tommy Atkins, leading the audience through the horrors of post traumatic stress and his physical and mental rehabilitation after treading on an IED.

The rest of the cast, several of whom are also amputees, throw light onto other sides of the situation, from the hopeful to the despairing. The staging is wonderfully constructed to turn a few simple screens into myriad situations and the occasional room-shaking explosions add to the concussive sense of fear in the flashback moments.

There are also tender moments, as seen when the three wheelchair-bound servicemen perform a stylised dance number to Antony and the Johnsons.

Charlie F is a classic piece of emotionally driven theatre that will linger in the memory of anyone who sees it.