The Kelvin Players like to challenge themselves, and Glory Dazed is an excellent choice. Directed by Alex Needham, the play keeps pace, and takes you on a real roller coaster. Up laughing at a joke one minute, and down the next almost in tears a split second later.
Glory Dazed is a heart wrenching play about the effects of war on British soldiers, and on a subtle level it also explores how relationships change, and how people change when placed in certain circumstances.
This performance is slick, and has well-developed characters; Ray has returned after touring in Iraq and Afghanistan, it isn’t clear if he chose to leave or was forced to leave the army. But what is clear, is that he isn’t stable. His ex-wife Carla has been beaten and manipulated by him, yet she is determined to remain strong for her kids. Old friend, and landlord of the pub where the play it set, Simon has been living in fear of Ray returning. And new girl Leanne, who only recently started at the pub seems to have a lot to learn, and Ray is willing to teach.
The set design is very detailed, and helps to build a convincing surrounding; set in Doncaster this play sheds light on the run down and forgotten about town. That is why this play is inherently a play about British soldiers, because it shows where Ray was from and why he was driven to sign up. Carla describes life as a struggle, a struggle that she doesn’t always have the energy for.
This is a fierce play, that isn’t afraid of offending people. But is a play that needs everyone to see it, and I applaud Kelvin Players for choosing to put it on.
The odd line was delivered, just a little too quietly so it was missed. But the passion, and stage direction make up for this. Ray is an imposing force, not to be messed with and you can’t leave without feeling affected by his story.
Why not read my review on Owen Shears’ Pink Mist.