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David Porter » Reviews » My Boy Jack

My Boy Jack

Theatre Royal, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 15 June 2004

My Boy Jack

Expecting nostalgia about first world war sons and daughters, I was touched deeply by Rudyard Kipling’s confused emotions in putting his obligation ahead of family and breaking rules to send his myopic teenage son to the trenches in the name of King, country and empire.

The pointlessness of the boy’s sacrifice (half of the 250,000 under-age soldiers died) at Loos after a few months resonates in a broken Kipling’s subsequent writing and his own death as the second world war looms, inevitable after The War to End All Wars didn’t.

The dilemma of a devastated patriot questioning his fundamental beliefs is the tragedy mirrored in the lives of millions, echoed in the strain on wife and marriage and made poignant in our terrorist-troubled times.

Excellent performing of effective writing makes this a harrowing and amusing evening. David Haig – The Thin Blue Line – spent years researching and writing it.

He has captured a sense of loyalties and relative simplicity of the period, so cruelly ripped aside by waste and death.

He is partnered by Belinda Lang from TV’s comedy Two Point Four Children as his wife, supported by a strong cast.

I was glad of some distance between me and them – in a more intimate space, it may have been too much to bear.

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