(Alfred Hicking’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/5.)
Why is there so little contemporary drama about life in the armed forces? Possibly because, since the end of national service, the army hasn't been known for the production of playwrights. Though Robin Hooper's drama is based on research rather than first-hand experience, it has a keen sense of authenticity about the hellish conditions of serving in Afghanistan; from the Kevlar chrysalis of communication equipment worn in searing heat to the morbid ritual of soldiers bidding farewell to their legs before setting out on patrol.
East London brothers Roly and Ken are comedy fans who refer to their lower limbs as Eric and Ernie. When the seemingly inevitable happens and Roly returns home with both legs amputated above the knee, he is visited in hospital by his brother's fiancee Gemma, though their relationship seems somewhat closer than a simple bond of sympathy between future in-laws.