Our Boys is a brave look at post-war trauma

THEATRE
OUR BOYS
The Duchess Theatre
****

It’s press night at Our Boys, and I’m sandwiched between London’s new theatrical glitterati – Billie Piper, Jemima Rooper and several generations of Dr Who. They were there to support their boys: a group of 20 somethings including Laurence Fox (of THAT acting dynasty) portraying the shattered lives of army soldiers.

Writer Jonathan Lewis based Our Boys around his own experiences as a soldier. Set in a military hospital at the fag end of South East London – Woolwich, SE18 to be precise – where six soldiers are convalescing from various ailments, ranging from post-traumatic shock to frostbite.

Sexist banter and masculine bluster mask an underlying fragility running through the play, although several emotional moments – a comatose soldier being tucked up in bed after a chillingly vivid nightmare – highlight that army life isn’t, perhaps, all it’s cracked up to be. Despite spending 90 minutes mostly gawping at Billie Piper’s mouth (it really is as big as they say), I can conclude Our Boys is sure to draw crowds for its light-hearted and humane look at the post-service scrapheap.