- Kenza Marland
- 5 August 2018
Gripping, moving play from a talented young cast
Action Man confronts post-traumatic stress disorder, NHS cuts and the treatment of disabled people by the welfare state, by following a young corporal as he attempts to put his life back together after leaving the army due to mental health issues.
The structure is engaging and mostly has a great pace: jumping between varied present day scenes and flashbacks to the protagonist's time in combat. Physical theatre is used effectively to communicate the overwhelming, terrifying experiences had by many on the front line. The cast are committed to these striking scenes, using the space and their bodies to mimic explosions and horror.
The real star of the show however lies in the three main characters: the corporal, his first girlfriend Ella and his ex-wife Mandy. Delivered with sensitivity, the three young actors give a genuine and heart-wrenching performance. A particularly emotive scene where the young couple dance together innocently during their school days works effectively to highlight the severity and sadness of the protagonist's downfall.
Unflinching in its address of real, important and pressing issues in British society today, Action Man is a fantastic piece of theatre which deserves a full audience during every performance.
Paradise in St Augustines, until 11 Aug, 5:35pm, £10 (£8).