Dev's Army (Oxfringe)

Fri 8th – Sat 9th June 2012

reviews

Anca Farcas

at 10:04 on 9th Jun 2012

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There is not really much to say..."Dev's Army" is a stunning example of flawless, passionate and mature acting, with perfectly orchestrated scenes which immerse the spectator into sadness, then dark stinging irony, and innocent whole-hearted laughter. Although it is set on a secluded Irish coastline during World War Two, you do not need to be familiar with Irish history to understand the struggle of the characters, the conflicts which determine their actions, nor to enjoy the charm of Irish humour and folk tales, as in the beautifully directed moment of the story of the cillín. Although potentially universal dramas, I doubt the setting could have been anywhere else than Ireland, as the beauty and unique strangeness of the characters would be completely lost.

By far the most valuable asset of this award-winning play is the strength of the acting. The four roles cover a complete spectrum of personalities, from the nostalgic and stubbornly proud old Paddy with his rather selective memory of the past, to the more practical and war-experienced former soldier Dermot, to the “simpleton” recruit in training Michael (who absolutely steals the show) and finally, The Man washed up on the beach who sets the play into development, complicating the rather peaceful and uninteresting lives of the three local defence volunteers. The allure of the play is that by the end of it, you feel fond of the characters, and you understand that they all fight somehow for the same patriotic goal, approaching it from different angles and sacrificing themselves in the process.

All in all, this is an incredibly well-written script, without a dull moment, and an amazing opportunity and privilege for Oxford to see this play performed. It really does make for a great evening!

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