The War Has Not Yet Started at Southwark Playhouse
The immediate sensation one has after watching The War Has Not Yet Started is that they have experienced something mesmerising, with incredible dialogue and an even better cast. Even though the play breaks down into several sketches that are not explicitly interconnected, it’s still possible to feel that there is some relevance between what’s happening on stage and in real life. Technology, war, abuse and the media are all put at the forefront of this very powerful piece written by Mikhail Durnenkov.
This idea of representing society is permanently reflected through the characters’ gender roles, which are mixed throughout the play. Paranoia is also something that most of these stories share, where someone either tries to repress or to conquer another’s ideas through verbal or physical violence.
Even though Durnenkov tries to transmit this concept of society, and with that aims to dissolve the characters’ identities, the cast, again, plays a big part in how effective this is. The lovely Hannah Britland is just a pure pleasure to watch, from her monologues to her more tense and vulnerable interactions. Mark Quartley gives us a very mixed bag of roles, and is brilliant in each one of them, constantly aware of his body language that sometimes gives away more than his own words. Without spoiling anything, his best moments definitely play out towards the end, where he manages to embody two completely different characters, in the awkwardness of a waiting room and the intimacy of a dysfunctional household. Lastly, but no less important, Sarah Hadland completes the cast, supporting the action with some balance and a good dose of comedy.
There is smart use of lighting during the 75-minute running time, which certainly improves the stage design and dramatic elements of many scenes by defining different spaces on the stage for each sketch, and proves to be particularly effective during a scene in an airport.
The War Has Not Yet Started is a treat and a must-see for any admirer of independent productions and overall good-quality theatre.
The War Has Not Yet Started is at Southwark Playhouse from 17th January until 10th February 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch the trailer for The War Has Not Yet Started here: