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For Queen and country

PUBLISHED: 13:50 08 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 24 August 2010

Black Watch: Damning indictment of British foreign policy

Black Watch: Damning indictment of British foreign policy

by Will Davies It s been a long time coming, but the multi-award winning play and damning indictment of British foreign policy, Black Watch, has finally arrived in London, and it was worth the wait. Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an

by Will Davies

It's been a long time coming, but the multi-award winning play and damning indictment of British foreign policy, Black Watch, has finally arrived in London, and it was worth the wait.

Hurtling from a pool room in Fife to an armoured wagon in Iraq, Black Watch is based on a fascinating and tense series of interviews conducted by playwright Gregory Burke with former soldiers who served in Iraq.

Viewed through the eyes of those on the ground through stunningly profound dialogue and dazzling choreography, Black Watch reveals what it means to be part of a legendary Scottish regiment, what it means to be part of the war on terror and what it means to make the journey home again.

The play makes powerful and inventive use of movement, music and song to create a visceral, complex and urgent piece of theatre.

Black Watch is more an attack on British foreign policy - branding the invasion of Iraq illegal and immoral - than on war and the armed forces in general.

It displays great sympathy with the troops in Iraq and also Afghanistan, notably the horrific conditions imposed upon them, the paucity of support from a stretched, poorly-funded armed forces (leaving them vulnerable to attack) and the psychological implications and change in attitude towards the conflict on return home.

There is not a dull moment to it, and even with creaking knees the lack of interval went almost unnoticed and only added momentum to the performance.

It is utterly enthralling, and its decisively anti-Iraq war message strikes a faultless balance, appearing neither too subtle nor too crass, making its message all the more appealing and credible.

A sell-out tour of Scotland, the US and Australasia means Black Watch's complex production at the Barbican, comprised in the main of a cast fresh out of theatre school, is incredibly slick.

It thoroughly deserves the raft of awards under its belt and you will be hard pushed to see a better performance all year.

Truly stunning.

w.davies@archant.co.uk

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