For King and Country at Southwark Playhouse
Wednesday 28 March 2018
Drama - Shows
John Wilson's military courtroom drama will be seen in London for the first time in half a century this summer, marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Image: Dilated Theatre Company
Directed by Paul Tomlinson, John Wilson's military courtroom drama will be seen in London for the first time in half a century this summer to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
For King and Country will run at Southwark Playhouse from 28 June to 21 July 2018, and follows a soldier's court martial for desertion and the struggle of his defending officer to acquit the young man in the face of bureaucracy and his own naïve honesty.
Many years before PTSD was officially recognised, it explores the brutality of war and what happened to men who could take no more.
The play was originally performed as Hamp at the Edinburgh Festival in 1964 by a cast including Leonard Rossiter, John Hurt and Richard Briers, and was adapted into the BAFTA-nominated film King and Country.
Death sentences were passed by the British Army in courts martial between 1914 and 1924 for offences such as sleeping on duty, cowardice, desertion, murder, mutiny and treason.
Over 3,000 received a death sentence, but many of these sentences were later changed to other punishments, such as hard labour or penal servitude.
Producer Alexander Neal said ...
"I was given this play by a very good friend five years ago and was astounded I hadn't known more about it, considering the quality of the story and the writing.
I've been trying to put this "forgotten classic" on since then - and I am certain it will be worth the wait.
For King and Country is just a terrific play, a tense, disconcerting courtroom drama set on the Front Lines of the First World War.
I love courtroom dramas, and the stakes can't get higher than this - set on the Western Front during WWI we see military law in action, where the accusing side and defending side alike have experienced horrors beyond imagination and face adjudication for their actions in the face of this.
We see in action a system full of pre-conceived ideas and pre-determined outcomes, with little consideration for exceptional circumstances or time to reflect on the accepted morality."
1918. The Western Front.
Private Hamp, a young working-class soldier from the North of England, has been in the frontline of a bloody battlefield for three years.
One day he decides to walk away …
This tense court-room drama, set during the final months of the Great War, follows the young shell-shocked Hamp's trial for desertion and his fight for his right to live.
His defending officer, lawyer, Lieutenant Hargreaves, must face a seemingly insurmountable challenge - to save a young soldier from the firing squad.
Will Private Arthur Hamp be found innocent and released with his life or will he become yet another casualty of the unforgiving and relentless war machine?
This forgotten classic by John Wilson has been powerfully re-imagined for the stage by director Paul Tomlinson (Force and Hypocrisy, Raising Hell, The Young Vic; Tommy, Downright Hooligan, West End; Orphans, Southwark Playhouse) and designer Jacqueline Gunn (The Dillen, RSC; The Pocket Dream, Nottingham Playhouse and West End).
In support of the Royal British Legion and as part of the Imperial War Museum Centenary Partnership, this production proudly commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Author: John Wilson
Director: Paul Tomlinson
Designer: Jacqueline Gunn
Production: Alexander Neal, Dilated Theatre
From: Thursday 28 June 2018
Closes: Saturday 21 July 2018
ActDrop full listing for For King and Country