The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings








Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp London London Review
Days of Significance

Makes you proud to be British, innit.— Sean
Days of Significance
James Clyde (Lenny) and Claire-Louise Cordwell (Hannah)
(Photo: Keith Pattison)
Roy Williams’ play Days of Significance has taken over a year to come to London after its premiere in Stratford last year. It seems to have had a considerable re-write in that time.

Originally written as a response to Much Ado about Nothing it centres on a group of young British men in their late teens or early twenties who are destined to fight in Iraq. A few days before they are due to be flown into Basra the soldiers go out clubbing and binge drinking with an equally rat arsed group of girls. Now when one of these men is called Ben (Jamie Davies) and the girl he has his eye on is Trish (Pippa Nixon) we can be forgiven for spotting Benedick and Beatrice. What Days of Significance does is to show the parts glossed over in Much Ado. Whereas Much Ado is about what happens when the soldiers come back from the wars,Days of Significance looks at who went to war, what trauma happened to them in battle and what it felt like returning the same society that they had left, except that the soldiers are very changed people.

What is different about the run of the mill plays on Iraq and this one by Roy Williams is that he looks at the grass roots rather than at the political figures who headed up the operation of war. The first issue is the inexperience of our troops and the irresponsible way they behave towards each other when at play at home. They get paralytic on alcohol, they get into fights, they are out of control. Roy Williams demonstrates their ignorance of the politics in the place to which they are going to fight. When one of their friends gets hurt by the Iraqis, they are unable to act in a restrained and professional way but react like yobs. Is this a new phenomenon or have squaddies always been like this? When in Iraq, they make bad decisions and act recklessly which lays some of them open to prosecution when they return home.

The behaviour and thoughts of the soldiers is contrasted with that of Hannah (Claire-Louise Cordwell), and to a lesser extent Dan (Luke Norris), who remain in the UK and go to university. Even before Jamie goes to Iraq, (Hannah and Jamie form the Claudio and Hero equivalents of Shakespeare’s play) Hannah knows more about Iraqi politics than he does.

Days of Significance is viscerally staged. Even while we were sitting in the café before the show there was a loud altercation as voices were raised and chairs were knocked over and punches thrown. On stage, and off, the fight scenes are really well done, people vomit on staircases and a drunken man exposes himself to deriding girls. Similarly in Iraq we see the wild excesses of sexually bravado videos to be sent back home and the terror of actually being under attack. You cannot see this play without reflecting on how group behaviour eggs on men to behave badly.

Trish and Ben have no happy ending. Ben never has to stand trial for the torture he inflicts on an Iraqi. Trish is bitter, cuts the face of a policewoman in a fight and is stuck wanting to talk about Ben and the war . Roy Williams’ play is neatly crafted with three acts although it is run through without an interval. The first scene is outside the nightclub, the middle scenes are in Iraq and the final scene is at a wedding of two of their friends. The three levels of playing area work well on the stage with the tatty Coca Cola sign doubling for both a run-down town centre and Iraq. There are nice touches like Clare (Beverly Rudd) the bride whose packet of Marlborough was tucked into her nightclubbing outfit bodice, has a packet of fags similarly tucked into the strapless bodice of her wedding dress.

The performances are edgy but very fine. Director Maria Aberg deserves credit for the convincing ensemble. I especially liked James Clyde as Hannah’s stepfather, Lenny and his stabilising influence, his good advice. In the first scene he runs a fast food stall and so witnesses the bad behaviour without having to join in. Pippa Newton as Trish makes the transition from feisty queen bee to has been. Malcolm Ranson’s fight direction is superb.

I can highly recommend Days of Significance —but don’t go if bad language or worse behaviour offends you.

Days of Significance
Written by Roy Williams
Directed by Maria Aberg

With: Venetia Campbell, Ricky Champ, James Clyde, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Danny Dalton, Jamie Davis, Craig Gallivan, Simon Harrison, Pippa Nixon, Luke Norris, Beverly Rudd, Lorraine Stanley, Mark Theodore
Design: Lizzie Clachan
Lighting: David Holmes
Sound: Carolyn Dowling
Movement: Laila Diallo
Fights: Malcolm Ranson
Running time: One hours 35 minutes with no interval
Box Office: 020 7328 1000
Booking to 29th March 2008
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 18th March 2008 performance at The Tricycle, Kilburn High Road, London NW6 (Tube: Kilburn)

a list of all book reviews, see our,
London Theatre Tickets
Lion King Tickets
Billy Elliot Tickets
Mighty Boosh Tickets
Mamma Mia Tickets
We Will Rock You Tickets
Theatre Tickets
high pressure valve
manual valvevalvesvalve company motorized valveball valvepressure valve buy valvebutterfly valve Check valvereturn valve
London Theatre Walks

Peter Ackroyd's  History of London: The Biography

London Sketchbook

tales from shakespeare
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
Click image to buy.
Our Review

©Copyright 2008, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from