A trip to the theatre with Bravo 22 Company
On Sunday evening I was lucky enough to see one of only two showings in London of The Two Worlds of Charlie F. This is the first theatre production to feature real soldiers sharing their own experiences on stage through a clever mix of traditional theatre, video clips, songs and choreographed movements.
In a dramatic opening the protagonist, Royal Marine Charlie Fowler, wakes up in a hospital bed in Selly Oak Hospital screaming in pain and confusion after an IED explosion has blown off one of his legs in Afghanistan. The play follows him and 13 other wounded soldiers on their individual journeys from signing up to the Forces through to the horrors of the front line and to the recovery centres in the UK, where they struggle to come to terms with their injuries and assimilate themselves into civilian life.
Bravo 22 Company is a Royal British Legion and Theatre Royal Haymarket initiative for sick and wounded service personnel who are currently in recovery programmes. The narrative of the play is all based on interviews the writer and director had with the soldiers at the start of the project. Alice Driver, a Masterclass producer at the Theatre Royal commented that “The project is all about giving this largely unknown community a voice…..The war wounded are often invisible and in many cases doing this has been life changing.”
The cast of Bravo 22 Company received a well-deserved standing ovation.