REVIEW: Blue on Blue, Tristan Bates Theatre

Harry Burton’s production of Chips Hardy’s blackly comic play shows the strength of the bond between Carver and Moss, but the conclusion leaves more questions than answers. 

Blue on Blue, Tristan Bates Theatre - Darren Swift and Daniel Gentely © Gavin Watson.jpg
Daniel Gentely and Darren Swift in Blue on Blue. Photograph by Gavin Watson.

This bittersweet comedy follows Moss (Darren Swift) and Carver (Daniel Gentely) as they struggle to adjust to the lives they now lead. Moss is an army veteran who is getting help from a young European carer called Marta (Ida Bonnast), whose arrival shows that how the pair are struggling in their own way – without letting the other one seeing it.

The key to Harry Burton’s production is making the characters feel believable – from Carver and Moss’s flat – which is basic but practical in terms of their needs, all the way through to sharpness and energy that makes it flow with ease.

Chips Hardy has created a powerful piece of drama that looks behind the news stories to give a real insight into the day to day practicalities of being a war veteran, treating the characters with respect and understanding.

Darren Swift as Moss is abrupt and trying to keep some sense of independence despite the loss of his legs. But there is still a sense of tenderness and vulnerability in the way in which he takes care of Carver which adds a warmth to Swift’s character.

Meanwhile, Daniel Gentely as Carver has some great mannerisms that really showcase the level of his character’s anxiety in a more powerful way than words alone. His is a more complicated character to understand and it would have been great to have had a more detailed background story for him.

Ida Bonnast as Marta might come across as much of a witness to proceedings as the audience – but her role is subtler than that: she forces the two men to acknowledge that the way they have been managing isn’t making either of them happy. Bonnast gives her all to a part that feels as though it also could have been developed a bit further.

The trouble is there is no real build up to the end and the conclusion does leave more questions than answers – but perhaps on reflection it is supposed to allow us the chance to consider how the characters lives will change after this.

It is straight to the point and doesn’t hide from any of the big issues that are confronted, but it is a play that could be developed even further to add more understanding to the character’s situation and our understanding of what they are going through.

Blue on Blue is on at the Tristan Bates Theatre until the 14th May. For more information and to book tickets visit:

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