Review: Warheads, at Park Theatre: Park 90
22 August, 2019 — By Lucy Popescu
Craig Fairbrass in Warheads. Photo: Marcus Kartal
TAZ Skylar’s action-packed drama, based on a friend’s experience and co-written with Ross Berkeley Simpson, takes a hard look at post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the military and specifically how it affects young men.
Miles (Skylar), newly returned from his first tour of Afghanistan, is suffering from mood swings, nightmares and flashbacks. His friends recognise that he is suffering from PTSD but Miles isn’t ready to face his demons.
After a violent altercation with the local pizza man, his girlfriend Tena (Klariza Clayton) insists he sees a therapist. But Miles distrusts the baby-faced Phillipa (Sophie Couch) assigned to help him.
Through a series of fragmented episodes, we learn how Miles first met Tena, an aspiring actress. Miles and his best friend Mory (Hassan Najib) share a love of modern warfare video games. They sign up together and are swiftly thrown into the harsh reality of war.
Miles admits that he became a soldier because he had few career choices and wanted to impress Tena, but is unwilling to recognise that active service has made him ill.
Inevitably, given the play’s 85-minute duration, Skylar and Berkeley Simpson can only skim the surface of a complex subject, but Warheads’ ending is unexpected and moving.
The talented cast, many of whom are making their professional stage debuts, give it their all in Toby Clarke’s assured production. Joseph Connolly offers some light relief as Tena’s camp flatmate, Tembe, and Craig Fairbrass injects gravitas as an army captain.
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