Falkland Sound

Louise Page
Finborough
(2002)

It is now twenty years since Margaret Thatcher and John Nott sent troops halfway around the world to defend some rocks known as the Falkland Islands in a "silly colonial war".

It is therefore appropriate that Louise Page's play, adapting a book by Hugh Tinker, should be revived as a reminder of how a war can affect individual families. It may also be timely in the political climate of late 2002.

David Tinker was a liberally-minded public schoolboy who chose to pursue a career in the Royal Navy. It is difficult to see the attraction of such a life for a dreamy poet who had difficulty in dealing with his subordinates. Something of the thrill of being involved seems to have overridden his natural dislike for the daily drudgery.

For whatever reason, this is what he chose and throughout his life, he wrote letters to friends and family that chronicled the accelerated life of a man who didn't make it to his 26th birthday. His idealism kept him going and he had a tendency to look on the bright side. He married and was clearly very much in love with great hope for his future.

Throughout, his thoughts and words are punctuated with comments from Simon Wright as his wistful father and amateur Boswell, Hugh. He makes the audience understand what a loss the country suffered as a result of this one life's destruction and implies at the end how this was multiplied during this "pointless" war. It is also clear that he needed to write and edit his memoir to obtain a kind of cathartic release for himself.

In his last few letters, David became very bitter. His historical educational background left him well placed to see the way in which the mistakes of the past were repeated. The navy was ill-prepared for battle, apparently learning their tactics from the Sunday Mirror's editorials.

David's loss occurred for the kind of crass military and political reasons that were evident in The Great War and the Charge of the Light Brigade. A fatal combination of military expediency and political greed, as lives were exchanged for popularity and, ultimately, votes.

Although he only left Cambridge last year, Edward Jaspers gives a tremendous performance as young David in Jennifer Lunn's simple but very moving production.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher