Metal Remains: Alma Tavern
Wednesday 19th November 2008

This is a Crackerjack review of Metal Remains.
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Crackerjack rating: 8 / 10.

The final play in Theatre West’s autumn season takes us to the deserts of Iraq in Ann Stiddard’s sandbags and camouflage netting set.

Natalie McGrath’s gritty drama Metal Remains centres on the stories of four interconnected women and how the war has shattered their lives in different ways.

Directed by Alison Comley, the 60-minute play exposed the raw emotions of old soldier Kate, her lover medic Vivienne, Iraqi mother Amina and young soldier Alice.

It’s an intense drama without jokes or any let-up in the unremitting message that war destroys. It’s not Oh! What A Lovely War. But it's this very intensity that makes the stories such compulsive viewing.

In particular, the director Alison Comley ensured the cast didn’t give the audience a moment to relax. Which reflected the tension that soldiers and civilians must feel in Iraq.

Suzi Davies gave an unflinchingly convincing portrayal of the career soldier and lover Kate and Dee Sadler was relaxed and persuasive in her role as her partner in a strained relationship.

Norma Dixit was outstanding as mum Amina, while Eleanor Dixon gave a refreshingly realistic performance as the young and naive Alice. Four first-class pieces of acting.

The sound in particular gave the slick production a naturalistic tone as the actors set about McGrath’s uncompromising script. Broken lives, fractured relationships. Yes, in Iraq all there seems to be are the metal remains of the carnage. Bush and Blair please take note.

Harry Mottram