Review: The Machine Gunners

Category: Drama, Community, Events

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The 2014 Shell play The Machine Gunners written by Robert Westall and directed by Steven Pleasants tells the story of a group of children nearing adolescence living in the midst of the Second World War.

The play centres on Chas McGill, played by the talented Adam Dalrymple (SU Sh), a young boy fascinated by the effects of the war and the souvenirs it is leaving behind. Chas and his friends, Cem (Gabriel Jordan, C3 Sh), Audrey (Emily Symington, MM Sh), Clogger (Virat Talwar, C2 Sh) are determined to protect their town Garmouth from the Germans.

The children lost amongst the chaos of a war-ridden England start an underground fortress equipped with a stolen machine gun in an attempt to come to grips with the heightening threats of the German’s reaching the English shores which is brining the war too close to home. The games the children play emphasise their innocence and their growing awareness of the atrocities of the war, forcing them to mature and accept what is going on around them.

At points the play was highly amusing, at others emotional and gripping. Through the eyes of children it accentuated the reality of the war stressing its horror and emotional impact on the country.  The fantastic performances of all of the 20 cast members underpinned by great guidance and direction created a poignant play about the invasive destruction of the war on the minds of the innocent.

Catherine Liney (L6 EL)

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