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The China Vase  - One4Review

The China Vase, written and directed by Bernie Kavanagh, is a serious and absorbing new play. Three playlets follow seamlessly critical moments in the lives of six soldiers across three wars – 4 privates, their sergeant and their commanding officer. After a dramatic and shocking opening, the first action takes place in WW1 as the sergeant and privates prepare the night before to go over the top. They basically accept their fate that they may not survive the next day. Apart from one of the privates who has a Southern Irish background, they have little if any understanding of the politics behind the war. The WW2 scene follows an incident near the conclusion of the war in Italy. Ordinary soldiers begin to really question the authority and politics of their commanding officer. From a historical perspective given this attitude, it comes as no surprise that at the conclusion of WW2 a Labour government is swept into power. The third situation, and perhaps the most interesting because of its contemporary nature, is set in modern Iraq. War has changed. Who is the enemy? In these times of the suicide bomber how does a soldier identify his enemy? Into this political labyrinth we send young men to try to impose some kind of day to day order. It is no wonder that they are pushed to the edge when faced with such intense pressures. This theme is well developed using the small cast of credible characters. The physical acting and timing of the cast members is of a high order. This is a thought provoking play, the tension being sustained all the way through. It is well worth seeing. ****

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