Review: The Two Worlds of Charlie F
17:40 07 May 2014
What does it mean to serve as a soldier, suffer life-changing injuries, and then return home again?
For many of us what we know about the war in Afghanistan comes from newspaper reports and TV footage - the theatre production The Two Worlds of Charlie F, currently at Norwich Theatre Royal, gives a unique and extremely powerful insight into some of the personal stories behind the headlines.
Poignant, raw, touching, and even humorous at times, the show - which first began as a work placement for wounded, injured and sick military personnel - takes its audiences on a thought-provoking trip to Afghanistan and back again through the individual stories of those who have been there.
Former Marine Cassidy Little - who himself lost a leg in a deadly IED explosion which claimed the lives of two of his friends - gives a simply superb performance in the lead role of Corporal Charlie Fowler. The same is true for each and every member of the cast, many of who have suffered life-changing injuries in the line of duty.
As The Two Worlds of Charlie F explores why recruits sign up to serve, the soldiers’ experiences in Afghanistan, and the challenges they face when they return from duty, the production blends all manner of theatrical genres to great effect.
Powerful sequences where soldiers recall what happened to them in Afghanistan are played out alongside scenes such as a lecture where the impact of a bomb is drawn starkly on to a soldier’s body, and a choral number where the soldiers reflect on “bluey” letters sent from family back home.
It is of course impossible to fully understand the impact of serving in Afghanistan unless you have actually been there, but watching this show really does make you feel as though your eyes have been opened a little wider and you understand much more than before.
The production clearly moved the entire Theatre Royal audience with everyone leaping to their feet in the final moments to give the cast a thoroughly deserved standing ovation.
• The Two Worlds of Charlie F is at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday. For more information and to book tickets visit www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call 01603 630000.