And The Horse You Rode In On
This thought provoking student written play is well worth a trek in the cold, advises CHARLOTTE IVERS.
Corpus Playroom, 7pm, Tue 19th – Sat 23rd November, £6/5
Before I had even arrived at the Corpus Playroom, things were not looking good for And The Horse You Rode In On. I had spent all day in bed with flu, and braving the elements in the name of theatre had not put me in the more charitable of moods. By the time the play was over, however, I had all but forgotten the arctic chill that was besieging my body.
And The Horse You Rode In On follows the lives of soldiers on both sides of the First World War as they face their own mortalities. We watch as some relationships unravel and others grow incredibly strong under the pressure of imminent disaster.
The writing of Tom Stuchfield, who also directs the play, is consistently good throughout. However, it is in the later scenes that he really comes into its own, poignantly highlighting the humanity of both sides. This is helped hugely by the effective use of music, as well as the constant low rumble of bombs in the background, reminding the characters and the audience of the constant threat of danger.
Visually, the play is excellent. When the lights first come up to show Charlie Merriman’s Shy shivering and moaning chillingly under a blanket, we are left in no doubt as to the awful conditions which are being portrayed. The set – a trench – is simple but effective. However, some rather cheap looking plywood does detract slightly from its realism.
In terms of the acting, this is a strong ensemble performance. However, a couple of individuals stand out. Sam Sloman as Meinhard, the sadistic German sergeant who sets upon his own men, radiates coldness and anger whenever he is on stage, completely holding the audience’s attention. Henry St Leger-Davey and Chris Born as Spencer and Volker also deserve a mention for an suitably powerful and emotionally charged last scene.
This Tuesday And The Horse You Rode In On had the largest first night audience that I have seen at the Corpus Playroom, and the show thoroughly warrants its success. This is a play which is both moving and thought provoking, and is well worth the price of a ticket, as well as the sub zero trek to Corpus, even if you are as melodramatic as me.