An emotionally-packed short play on the futility of war

Review by Paul Nelson

WITHOUT being omniscient, it was obvious at the start of the Falklands War of 1982 that there was less to it than met the eye, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker.

It was a matter of the pride and madness of Margaret Thatcher, the necessity for the Tory party to gain popularity and set itself up to win the next election, her belief that she was a reincarnation of Winston Churchill and lurking beneath the surface, a deep suspicion that there was probably oil beneath the waves of the South Atlantic.

There have been plays about young men and poets in war before and there will be more in the future without doubt, but certainly the most succinct and moving I have seen is Falkland Sound, currently at the Finborough Theatre.

The play is an abridgement of A Message from the Falklands; The Life and Gallant Death of David Tinker by David Tinker, Lieutenant RN, edited by Hugh Tinker, David's father.

David Tinker was an idealist as a young man. A thoroughly English sort with all the dreams and ambitions youth can possess. A sense of humour and fair play were intrinsic to him. He joined the RN after school and was sent to the Falklands during that mad campaign, and that is where he met his end.

The whole futility of war alongside David's disillusionment is the main thrust of the play and in their endeavour to do these really great themes justice, the two-man cast at the Fin are expert.

Contrasting with the kindness and humanity of Hugh is the initial boyish joie de vivre of David, his jingoistic zeal for Argie-bashing which toned down to the realisation that the whole adventure was a misplaced idea, a caprice of a Prime Minister intent on self aggrandisement at whatever cost.

The two actors who comprise the entire cast of this play are excellent, and the short evening peoples the stage with other characters. Indeed, David manages to make you join him in his loves, his hopes and finally his realisation of the sheer waste of time and money. Both actors play with skill and artistry.

The play lasts approximately 55 minutes, and it is the most emotionally packed short play I have ever seen. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now. It is a very affecting evening.

Falkland Sound, adapted by Louise Page and the original cast, directed by Jennifer Lunn, Lighting by Jerry Sullivan WITH Simon Wright (Hugh) and Edward Jaspers (David). Produced by Culturcated Theatre Company and presented by Concordance at the Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10. Tickets 020 7373 3842.

Click here for Paul Nelson's informative preview of the production...

Click here for the Finborough's website...
Click here for the Concordance website...