Journey's End, Duke of York's Theatre, September 2011.
Literature about the First and Second World Wars has long been a favourite genre of mine. When I heard that the R C Sherriff's play was returning to London this summer I spent days planning how I was going to find the time to go and see the play.
I managed it on the last day of the run thanks to LastMinute.com and some rota juggling. I am so glad that I did, and if the tour was coming anywhere near Norwich I think I'd be there every night of the run.
I was a little worried when I got to the theatre as I was seated in Row AA - right in front of the stage. In fact as I am so short the stage was above my head. It didn't matter as the whole play actually takes place in a WW1 dugout and is supposed to be underground.
The staging and the lighting were minimal, the stage appeared to be lit totally by candle light and it was a static set with all of the acting taking place around a wooden table. The play takes place over just a few days just before the last major German offensive of the war.
The play was written by R C Sherriff in 1929, a man who had served in the trenches. It conveys the tedium, the fear and the excitement experienced by soldiers and at times is incredibly funny, however by the interval I knew I was going to need tissues.
I wasn't wrong.
By the end I was in floods of tears, as was the majority of the audience. I don't think I've had a more intense experience at the cinema or theatre before. The play ends with the attack. The stage goes black and the theatre is just full of the sound of guns. That fades and then the Last Post rings out.
I'm welling up just thinking about it.