Photo: Paul Kolnik
The worst part of war is the waiting, and in the masterful revival of R.C. Sherriff's 1928 play, Journey's End, that tension is the only thing there is. Sherriff's writing is sharp and witty, but trenchant too (which is fitting for the trenches), and his characters all avoid the all-too-easy trap of stereotype. The outstanding ensemble cast contributes to that artful dodge, from the comically stoic characters like the cook, Private Mason (Jefferson Mays), and the rotundly charming 2nd Lieutenant Trotter (John Ahlin) to the the naive new officer, Raleigh (Stark Sands), and the wizened "uncle," Lieutenant Osborne (Boyd Gaines). Hugh Dancy, who has the meatiest role of the show, delivers a charismatic performance as the courageous Captain Stanhope, a man who manages to get out of bed each day only by battering his memory with a constant stream of whiskey each night. Everything about this production is perfect, from the pulse-pounding sound effects (never has an empty stage told so much story) to the unsettling dankness of the waterlogged underground set. David Grindley's direction is spot on, and I dare you to find a better curtain call than the tasteful, heart-wrenching one that he has concocted for this magnificent, powerful show.
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