THEATRE REVIEW: Regeneration ★★★
The Everyman Theatre, Coventry
Saturday 25th October, 2014
Set in Craiglockheart Hospital, Edinburugh, during World War One, we follow Seigfried Sassoon, a poet and soldier, who is being treated by Captain Rivers, for post traumatic shock. Sassoon strikes up a friendship with Wilfred Owen, a closeted homosexual, and we follow the passion and enthusiasm Owen has for Sassoon, as well as following the life of Rivers, as he treats other patients in the hospital.
The acting from all involved is convincing, and with the show being a quiet setting, you can hear a pin drop in the audience as the focus of everyone's intention is drawn on stage. The set is very basic, but convincing, and is used frequently for many different sets, with the help of props and lighting to signify specific elements of the settings throughput the production.
This year has seen a lot of War productions come through the theatre doors, with 2014 commemorating 100 years since the war began, and I have never been a fan of history, but watching all the productions that have been played out on stage, because they have all been so focused on a specific time of the war, and with specific characters, they have really drawn my attention, but this story in particular has really captivated me. I've been so drawn into the characters that you feel involved with the play, and really feel for the characters actions throughout the play, especially the friendship between Sassoon and Owen.
The pace and tone of the show is stable, and there are a few shocking parts in the show which made audiences jump, especially nearing the climax of the first act. My favourite part of this production though, apart from how well the cast worked together, was how they betrayed the glimpses of the war through the post traumatic patients. The lighting and sound effects are really effective, and just the way that the scenes suddenly change from a golf course, or a bedroom, to then suddenly the war, feels very slick and realistic.
One other thing that I was impressed by was the scene changes. The way the actors themselves moved the furniture themselves was fast and in time with the overlapping music on top. My favourite scene change was the one going into the bar, where two of the actors, once picking up two chairs, started dancing to the background music as they exited.
Overall, Regeneration is a fantastic production which really gives an insight into the war, the relationships that soilers had with one another, and how they were treated back 100 years ago. A brilliant production to commemorate WW1.