Review: Faith, The Courtyard ★★★

The soldiers within Faith are imprisoned in the conflicts of the Falklands war at The Courtyard Theatreas they capture the excruciating humour and ridiculousness of blind obedience. Commanded to commit amurder on behalf of their country, the soldiers struggle to maintain their already fragile facade of rank and order. Meredith Oake’s narrative depicts beautifully the undemocratic nature of upholding democracy. This production fulfils the hard-hitting intentions of politically motivated writing, where its audience finds they are ashamed to be laughing at the plausible truths being presented to them. The characters themselves range in intelligence, motive, and behaviour to produce a volatile setting.

The first act relays the politics of the war and the unit’s chain of command, ultimately laying the groundwork for an emotive and poignant second act. Despite the prolonged and frustratingly slow opening, Drew Baker’s direction was largely precise, placing his performers purposefully to spatially demonstrate the character’s allegiances, confrontations, and dissolution.  The actors cultivated simplicity, relying on the narrative to tell the story, rather than forcing the audience’s focus. The differing accents appeared confused at times, with the performers struggling to maintain their differences in moments of anger or relaxation.

Wolfe gave an astonishingly brave and unwavering performance that enabled the audience to find a character which they cared about

Sandra, played by Georgina Sutton, provided the humane reaction to an impossibly dark situation by offering both compassion and anger in the face of conflict. Ultimately, Alexander Wolfe’s character was a breathof fresh air in an isolating and monotonous situation. Wolfe, who was playing Private Lee Finch, stole each scene he was involved in, shining beyond the material. The audience laughed and cooed over his simple, charming and humorous naivety. No doubt his character was written to provide the pull of laughter from the push of torment and torture, but Wolfe gave an astonishingly brave and unwavering performance that enabled the audience to find a character which they cared about.

With the focus of this production being the soldier’s relationships to each other, and to their country,the lighting and design elements were only cultivated when absolutely necessary. Baker’s direction offers compassion, humour and condemnation to the brutality, obedience, and values of any war.

*** (3 stars)
Runs until 16th June
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