Tristan Bates Theatr and touring
War zones have long provided a plentiful source of blood and gore for novelists, poets, painters and playwrights. Xavier Leret uses the bloody war in the former Yugoslavia as the backdrop to this play.
Anna Keane (Gina Peach), an ambitious young journalist in pursuit of a massacre, is keen to get to the village before any other journalist steals the tale of carnage. She is accompanied by an experienced cameraman John Powell (Vaughn Richards) and two Serbs.
The two Serbs, Jokic (Alex Terentyev), a young uncouth militia-man with a Kalashnikov, and Dragan (Serge Soric) equipped with a bottle of brandy, are ostensibly charged with protecting and guiding the British journalist and her cameraman.
Keane realises that Jokic has failed to check the route and that they have in fact landed in a minefield. The journey is delayed until daylight. The four are confined to limited space for the night.
The Serb dialogues are in Pidgin English laced with, what one supposes, must be Bosnian-Serb language/dialect. This might have been an attempt by Leret to give the play a flavour of authenticity. Unfortunately the drama that unfolds exhibits the tiresome characteristics of predictability.
Jokic's affection for the bottle loosens his tongue and releases a torrent of foul language as he pathetically attempts to molest Keane. Keane's anger and frustration in the face of the intoxicated and somewhat misogynistic Jokic, crescendos into a very real explosion (a mine?) and is followed by injury, suspected death and a potential story worthy of a journalist and a cameraman's reporting.
Keane's vulnerability and Powell's steadfastness in the circumstances assist in providing an element of realism.
Peach and Richards' performances, in particular in the second half of the play, somewhat redeem a play dominated by platitude in its storyline and dialogues.
The set, costume and designed by Nicolai Hart-Hansen were impressive.
Reviewer: Rivka Jacobson