237 (West Bromwich) Squadron recently conducted a cultural visit to Wolverhampton Civic Theatre to watch a touring production titled “The two worlds of Charlie F”.
The event was organised by Captain Alan O’Brian and saw representation from across all ranks in the Squadron. We met at the local public house which enabled all to catch-up, socialize and sort tickets before entering the theatre. I chose to attend with my partner as did many others; we regularly attend the theatre watching both amateur and professional productions throughout the UK and found this play as enjoyable as any we’ve seen in the past.
The production was played mostly by ex-service men and women injured in action with I believe some supporting actors. The story line/plot centred about the recovery of injured personnel with several mentions of Selly Oak Hospital with some very loud visual effects and a little humour thrown in. It covered physical and mental injuries with a focus on the partners and families of the soldiers. I found the aspect from the families interesting with the initial sense of hopelessness and despair, coupled with the determination to get the soldier through their situation and on the road to full recovery
There was a song in the production during act two about flashbacks with the lyrics “not re-living it, living it” suggesting a struggle with reality, that I’ll not forget any time soon. It helped to understand how these soldiers’ minds work during their recovery, opening my mind to aspects I would never consider.
The act with the blueys (military mail system for personnel deployed on operations overseas) was good for my wife (as I’m due to deploy this year); seeing the joy at receiving mail, brought home how something so mundane in the UK takes on a different aspect on tour. My wife has already been rallying my family to this effect!
The production was well delivered, with some high visual & audio impact that made the audience jump from their seats (me included). The confidence of the actors should be commended and they received a standing ovation at the end, which appeared to embarrass them a little.
Although the production has been advertised nationally on BBC radio 2 and possibly others I know none of our group were fully aware of it. I would and have recommended it, as it’s a story that should be heard. Non-military people may struggle to grasp what it’s like to serve in the Army on tour, and we must all find it difficult to relate to recovering soldiers, this production covers both and does it very well.
For more information on teh play or to book tickets visit: http://www.charlie-f.com