THE TWO WORLDS OF CHARLIE F
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
This is a new play written by Owen Sheers which is a fictional work, in as much as the characters are fictional but based on the true accounts of British ex servicemen and women who, in the words of their basic training, "overcame and adapted" their disabilities, brought about by the horrors of war, and have turned them into an awe inspiring piece of theatre.
The stories of how and when their lives changed, what they heard and felt and even tasted at that point, still fresh in their memories, never to be removed. There's the physical signs of what happened and also the signs that can't be shown by an amputated limb. The impact on their family life and loved ones and we're even taken through what would happen to a body in war and how a pair of safety pants would actually save you in an explosion.
It's not entertainment in the usual sense of the word, but more an education with an entertaining aside, although it is immensely entertaining. Any pity you felt to start with is banished because these people who stood on that stage with amputations and mental and physical issues have overcome them, and they've learned to live with them, are laughing at themselves and the others, as a coping mechanism.
You feel an enormous sense of sorrow for the horrors that they've been through and the things they've seen. Pride to think that these people have fought for us and have come out the other end, strong enough to tell their story as they have. Respect, anger, humility, sadness and many other emotions race through you, watching this heart warming but tough story. But what shines through is the incredible humour they possess, the humour which probably saved their lives.
It's a play which, if you can, you should see. I always say that unless you leave the theatre with some definite emotions, the play hasn't done it's job, or you haven't understood the play. Well this will leave you with many emotions and a great deal to think about. And this hasn't stopped because war is still going on today and while it is, there'll be many more victims, just like the incredible ex servicemen and women come actors currently touring with "Charlie F".
"The Two Worlds Of Charlie F" can be seen at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 19 April 2014