JINGO Finborough Theatre LONDON ***
"I cannot be shackled... I'm frightfully flighty," says Gwendoline, who sounds like a dainty miss of music hall but is in fact, her former and present husbands agree, a slut. This doesn't stop George, her young and silly spouse, and Ian, her grave and sensible ex, from wanting her - the latter even tells George that he is going to get her back.
But Gwen and the two Army officers are in the midst of a more serious conflict. They are in Singapore in early 1942, and George, who scornfully dismisses the idea of being bombed by the Japanese with "I'd like to see them try!", is about to get his wish.
Jingo is one of many plays about men in war, written for stage and TV, in the Sixties and Seventies (in this case, 1975) by Charles Wood, author of the unforgettable Falklands drama Tumbledown. They reflect not only Wood's Army experience but the savage anti- Establishment mood of their time: George, the "expert" on the Japanese, calls them "little yellow monkeys", and is sure they'll be no good in battle because they all need glasses. Another officer, Percy, could be speaking for them all when he asks, "Have you ever been buried alive? I have."
In Tom Littler's production, for the Primavera company, every performance is first rate - Susannah Harker's ice-blond bitch; Peter Sandys-Clarke's absurd but touching George; Anthony Howell's sorrowing Ian, trapped by a crazy passion and a chaotic war. …