David Grindley’s production of RC Sherriff’s Journey’s End will play a seven-week season from July 22nd at the Duke of York Theatre.
This excellent play, which I saw on Broadway in 2007, is set in the days leading up to the last great German Offensive of the First World War and focuses on a group of officers behind British lines at St Quentin, France, who await their fate on the front line. The entire story plays out in the officers’ trenches over four days in 1918 and is based on the author’s own experiences in World War One. The play was first performed in London in 1928 starring a young Laurence Olivier who actually borrowed the playwright’s uniform (Sheriff, the author, in uniform in photo below).
The play is extremely powerful, moving and actually transports the audience to the emotionally draining rat infested trenches of France. The explosions seem real and the audience was clearly affected when the light went on at the end. There were quite a few old-timers in the crowd when i saw it, most certainly veterans of some war, who were visibly shaken and moved to tears.