He joined the Marines for the bet - it cost him a leg
Published 18 Aug 2012 09:00 1 Comment
SUNDAY night's television was electrifying, riveting, deeply moving, funny and thoroughly humbling. Like the rest of the nation my eyes never left the screen; unlike the rest of the nation I wasn't watching you-know-what.
Not sure how I landed on Community Channel (that's Sky 539 if you're interested) but it was showing a hypnotic stage production of Two Worlds of Charlie F, a play by Owen Sheers featuring a cast mostly comprising Army and Royal Marine Afghanistan veterans, who'd had to learn the script but required no stage devices to portray loss of one or more limbs or, quite literally, backbreaking injury.
I would defy anyone not to reach for a hanky when 20-year-old Rifleman Daniel Shaw re-enacts the moment an IED took both his legs; the film star looks of Canadian Lance Corporal Cassidy Little, in the title role of Charlie F, who joined the Royal Marines for a bet and it cost him a leg; or the Airborne Sapper who quietly describes breaking his back in four place and damaging "some other bits". The acting isn't flawless but is packed with raw power and who cares that when the script demands, they shout in anger, weep, or show contempt for foe and unfeeling friend alike and seize the chance to exorcise personal demons.
The language is ripely F-ridden, frank discussion of their injuries as raw as the wounds themselves, humour as earthy and self-deprecating as this soldier's son recalls at a range of many decades, the painful Dear John destruction of relationships and life-altering battlefield trauma only too realistic.
These remarkable men and women have received deserved critical acclaim during a nationwide tour which has one date remaining, on September 9 at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, but instead of Channel 539 or the Internet, it should be peaktime viewing and Blair, Cameron, Brown, Hoon, Reid, Hammond and every shiny-bottomed spendthrift MoD time server compelled to watch it again, and again and again.
MEANWHILE Fiji-born former Lance Corporal Bale Baleiwai, 13-year veteran of Iraq, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan, will not be kicked out of Britain today. That's the good news. The bad is that despite a 27,000-name petition, deportation might only be delayed until November's appeal against a trivial military misdemeanour which leaves Commonwealth soldiers prey to the tweaked Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. In the meantime Bale, who has an English wife and two children, is banned from working, claiming benefits or even seeing a GP. What a grateful nation!
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 15 Aug 12
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Aug 19, 19:43
Problem is they fight then get home and realise their taxes are now propping up the vast majority of those they were fighting in the first place. Irony; not quite what it used to be eh?
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