It’s always an event when cult Midlands theatre director Tracey Street chooses to direct a new play and this production of Glory Days is no exception.
The scene is easily set. It’s after hours in a back street pub and the staff are ready to lock up for the night and go their separate ways. But there’s a banging on the door and, making a major error, the landlord lets in the late caller.
What follows is the lock-in from hell as a veteran of the British forces in Afghanistan explains, demonstrates and finally melts down completely over what happened to him in the hell of a foreign war zone, thus explaining exactly why he needs a drink now.
Dominic Thompson is impressively genuine as the young landlord whose first mistake in letting in an old friend looks like being his last, while Birmingham actress Karendip Phull is effortlessly convincing as a young barmaid way out of her depth while the potentially tragic drama unfolds.
Sophie Handy as Carla his ex-wife is definitely one to watch – I have a feeling we may be seeing her on the small screen soon given the seemingly effortless and gritty integrity she brings to this part.
But it’s Paul Findlay as Ray the psychologically maimed ex-warrior who really owns the show, driving the action with a rare combination of menace and vulnerability which allows him to make the role into a complete tour de force.
In the marvellously intimate space of the Old Joint Stock this powerful drama is microscopically intense, but it truly deserves a wider airing. Midlands theatre programmers, where are you now?