Audiences might be forgiven for thinking that a play written in the early nineties about recovering soldiers, wounded in the country's name, would lose relevance when staged two decades later.
While it's true that Jonathan Lewis's Our Boys, which premiered in 1993, originally referenced the troubles in Northern Ireland, its themes, of camaraderie among young men, of humanity, trust and betrayal, are kept fresh by a recent decade of conflicts in the Middle East and Asia.
A new generation has a different understanding of war to that of their grandparents, with most young people now cast in the role of voyeur, not as conscript. But, as the regular, grim updates on the nightly news and the accompanying grainy, cheerfully optimistic family photos attest; war is, at its heart, about young men. Their victories, their defeats, their experiences and, as writer and former squaddie Jonathan Lewis knows well, their pain.
The young men in this setting are played by, among others, Laurence Fox (Lewis, Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, The Verdict) and Cian Barry (Julian Fellowes' Titanic, Shameless). An unquestionably strong cast which is required to deliver a work rich in humour and pathos as their tightly knit group is fractured by a new arrival. This short run promises a great deal.
Our Boys is at the Duchess Theatre for a limited 12-week run, previewing from 26th September and running until 15th December 2012. We have tickets available now, priced from £20 for Dress Circle seats to £65 for the very best stalls. Tickets for previews (until 3rd October) have £10 off.