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Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun

Finborough Theatre

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#1 mallardo


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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:20 PM

Yet another great rediscovered play by the Finborough.   Bofors Gun was written by the late John McGrath in 1968 and has not had a London production in 46 years yet it is a wonderful piece of theatre, beautifully written and, in this production, powerfully played.

Set in 1954,on a freezing February night in cold war Germany, it concerns a British Army unit guarding the titular gun (which is obsolete and useless) while carrying weapons that contain no ammunition.  Talk about metaphors.  The unit consists of six men led by an 18 year old Lance-Bombardier who is heading back to "Blighty" on the next day to enter an officer training course.  All he has to do is get through the night - but there's the rub.  In his unit is a raging, violent, drunken, suicidal soldier named O'Rourke who is determined that things will not go well.

O'Rourke is a great part and it's being given an amazing star-is-born performance by a young actor named Charles Aitken that cannot be overpraised.  Remember that name. But the whole cast is tremendous and the production, directed by Robert Hastie, is superbly intense.  Most definitely recommended.
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#2 El Peter

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:22 PM

The play text was published first in September 1966. I have just found online a review of this new play at Hampstead Theatre in April of that year. The film adaptation was in 1968, also written by John McGrath.  

I liked this Finborough production. The believable characters were well acted in a play that although it is set in Germany in 1954, the reasonably well informed contemporary playgoer will have little difficulty in following or understanding in 2012. Of course a couple of the characters get on your nerves, but that's good writing and dramatic tension for you.

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