Stony Broke in No Man’s Land
By John Burrows

Finborough Theatre
118 Finborough Road,
London SW10 9ED

To 25 01 16

Box Office: 0844 847 1652  
Book online at

Tues 12, Sun 17, Mon 18, Tues 19,
Sun 24, Mon 25, Tues 26 Jan 2016

Sun/Mon evenings: 7.30pm, Tues mats: 2.00pm

Runs: 2hrs plus 15 min interval

Review: by Carole Woddis of perf seen Jan 11, 2016:

Infectiously spirited
If you’ve ever wondered how the Cenotaph came to be part of the nation’s cultural fabric, look no further than this enjoyably understated, sting-in-the-tail new show from John Burrows as part of the Finborough’s TheGreatWar100 series which certainly acts as a bracing post-war antidote.

Writer/director of, amongst other things, 7:84’s One Big Blow (which spawned the 1980s chart-topping acapella group, The Flying Pickets), Burrows has written an infectiously spirited account employing two of the Pickets’ original stalwarts, David Brett and Gareth Williams.

Between them, they play over 20 roles, slipping in and out of male and female characters with the ease that only comes from two old pros with a lifetime of experience behind them. As two shabby-coated, medal boasting buskers – Brett on banjo, Williams on violin – they whisk us from Woolwich to Grosvenor Square, the trenches, post-war Russia and Lloyd George’s cabinet office on a flight of fancy concerning young 18 year old conscript, Percy Cotton and his lady love, Nellie Mottram, Selfridge shop-girl and occasional `medium’ dispensing comfort to the recently bereaved via questionable access to their loved ones killed on the fields of France.

As Percy slowly makes his way through the purgatory of war, Nellie is steadily climbing up through the upper echelons of society.

Brett and Williams have some terrific, even heartfelt moments in a double-act that recalls Pete & Dud with its slow-burn humour, contrasting physical appearances and class differences.

Williams, for example, captures the capricious working class opportunism of Nellie but also provides a convincing range of plummy-voiced Army figures. Brett, the smaller, projects Percy’s artlessness but also the deviousness of Nellie’s sponsor, lover and Lloyd George’s Secretary, Sir Gregory Sleight.

Sometimes the show feels as if an outside eye might have moved things on a bit. But Burrows ultimately makes his points, without fanfare, about the terrible postwar betrayal of those who survived and Lloyd George’s shrewdness in creating a ceremony of national mourning, not just to assuage national grief but also as a buttress against a possible rise of national unrest such as the Bolshevism, then sweeping through Russia. Now that’s clever!

Unassuming show but one with great potential, thanks to its two star performers.

Stony Broke in No Man’s Land
By John Burrows

First Tommy: David Brett
Second Tommy: Gareth Williams
Percy Cotton: David Brett
Nellie Mottram: Gareth Williams
Second Lieutenant Clement Munroe: Gareth Williams
Medical Orderly: Gareth Williams
Doctor: Gareth Williams
Sir Arthur Munroe: Gareth Williams
Lady Elizabeth Munroe: David Brett
Carter, a butler: Gareth Williams
Second Lieutenant Marcus Macalroy: Gareth Williams
Sir George Sleight: David Brett
VAD: Gareth Williams
Lieutenant Colonel Algernon Stanley: Gareth Williams
David Lloyd George: Gareth Williams
Nikolay Mikhailevhich Gorokhov: Gareth Williams
Demobilised solider: Gareth Williams
Reg: Gareth Williams
Lieutenant: Gareth Williams
Sarah, a maid: David Brett
Boy: David Brett

Set in England, France and Russia during and just after the Great War

Director: John Burrows

Stony Broke in No Man’s Land is presented by Vertical Man Productions in association with Neil McPherson for The Finborough Theatre.

World premiere at the Finborough Theatre, London, Jan 10, 2016

For more info see:

2016-01-12 17:52:39

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection