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Review: The Two Worlds of Charlie F
I EXPECTED big things for The Two Worlds of Charlie F. With the poignant story of servicemen and women injured while serving in the forces brought to the stage, I expected to be reaching for my tissues. But I didn't, as somehow the show lacked that certain something.
There are a cast of 15 in the show- eight of whom are British soldiers who were wounded while serving in the forces.
The story focuses on their rehabilitation and the horrific situations they faced while performing their duty.
But the poignancy of these stories were diluted by the creative process. What should have been a moving and thought provoking play turned into a play with unnecessary dance scenes and forced emotion.
To add to this the music wasn't particularly good and seemed clichéd.
The most emotive moments were when the soldiers were shown on a screen at the back of the stage, with the camera closed in on their faces, as they spoke about what they had been through.
Here you could see real emotion, without the smokescreen of the other seven professional actors in the show.
To be on stage and talk about what happened to them was truly remarkable and to act alongside this is something to be applauded.
But I don't think the show did the soldiers justice. It could have been so much better.
That said, the audience raised to their feet for a standing ovation at the end of the show.
It is not a slick performance, but it was originally designed as recuperative therapy.
So to come from those humble beginnings and make a show which is now touring is remarkable in itself.
Marine Cassidy Little as the lead, Charlie Fowler, steals the show. He was injured in Afghanistan in 2011 by an IED and lost the lower part of his right leg.
Cassidy was born in Canada and did performance arts in the US. When he came to the UK he was also a stand up comedian. I could see he was right at home on the stage as his performance seemed effortless.
He brought a lot of humour to the stage, as did all the servicemen and women, which was one of the best bits about the show.
I just felt it could have all been done so much better to really reflect the subject matter and what these men and women went through.
The Two Worlds of Charlie F is on at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until March 15 at 7.30pm each evening and a matinee tomorrow at 2.30pm. Tickets are £14 to £30.40. Call 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury
It is also on at Wycombe Swan from May 19 to 21 at 7.30pm. Tickets range from £17 to £26, with a £1.50 booking fee. Call 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk
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