The Western Front, 1918.
After four years on the bloody battlefield, Private Hamp, a young working-class soldier from Lancashire, unthinkingly walks away and is caught for desertion. Lieutenant Hargreaves, who is drafted in to defend him, gradually realises that Hamp has a genuine case for defence, based on ill mental health.
Hargreaves must convince the court-martial of Hamp’s altered state of mind, and his innocence, in order to save him from the firing squad. Similar circumstances were shared by over three thousand soldiers during the Great War who were tried for desertion, cowardice in the face of the enemy or throwing away of arms.
John Wilson’s brilliant script was first performed in 1964, starring Richard Briers, Leonard Rossiter and John Hurt. It was later adapted into the BAFTA nominated film King and Country with Tom Courtenay, Dirk Bogarde and Leo McKern. For King and Country returns to a London stage for the first time in over 30 years, powerfully re-imagined 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).
Dilated Theatre proudly commemorates 1918 in support of the Royal British Legion and as a member of the IWM First World War Centenary Partnership. The performance on Monday 9th July is a Gala Night in support of the Royal British Legion. All tickets £20.
Press on For King and Country:
★★★★ ‘An intriguing and deeply moving production with a strong cast.’ LondonTheatre1
★★★★★ ‘Exceptional performances… a striking, avant-garde piece of theatre that re-imagines a forgotten and timeless classic.’ The Upcoming
★★★★ ’An immaculate ensemble… John Wilson’s well-made First World War courtroom drama retains a visceral power in a rock-solid production.’ The Stage
★★★★ ‘Excellent… tight and impactful theatre.’ Everything Theatre
★★★★(1/2) ‘Powerfully poignant… the collectively held breath of an audience willing on both Hamp and his superiors, is the sign of a well-executed drama.’ The Reviews Hub
★★★★ ‘A truly, special play… a fantastic cast to perform this remarkable story. Don’t wait another 30 years to catch it.’ Hayley Sprout
Credit: Alex Brenner
Tuesday 17th July
After the evening show there will be a discussion featuring the cast and hosted by Catherine Long, Public Engagement Officer for Lives of the First World War. The initiative was set up by the Imperial War Museums to create a permanent digital memorial to over 7.6 million individuals from Britain and the Commonwealth who contributed to the war effort.
Catherine will introduce Lives of the First World War before opening up the discussion to the cast and the audience on the history and themes of the play, and how it relates to real-life stories of many individuals who served.