Wired

Lesley Wilson

In Motion Theatre Company

Army @ The Fringe in Association with Summerhall

From 23 August 2017 to 28 August 2017

Rating: ****

Review by Keith Mckenna

Wired is the story of the character Joanna’s (Jasmine Main) recruitment to the army, her deployment to Afghanistan and her return suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of a terrible event she witnessed.

Dressed in military uniform, she stands in the centre of the huge performance space of the Claremont Street drill hall of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

It is a play of three voices. There is Joanna, who speaks directly to us, her mother (Natalie Clark), who mostly speaks to Joanna, and an unnamed older woman soldier (Una McDade), who may simply be commenting on what the army offers or perhaps representing the positive things Joanna has experienced about the army.

Jasmine Main is confident and convincing as the young recruit who joins up not out of any passion but in preference to alternatives such as accumulating debts on a university course.

Her mother certainly doesn’t want her to join and reminds her of the time she helped carry with her father a banner saying “No Blood for Oil”.

But, as an older soldier points out, in the army she can become “someone who changes lives.”

We hear something of the training and the initial friendships she makes in Afghanistan but then there is the sudden violence she sees which she constantly replays wishing something different had happened.

Still a serving soldier, she returns home to recover and finds comfort in drink.

Her mother worries, recalling the way Joanna’s father bitter with the failure of the anti-war movement to stop the war and horrified by the deaths caused by UK action began to slip into a terrible depression.

This is a thoughtful and engaging play that reminds us that some of the wounds of war may be invisible but can all the same be fantastically debilitating.