Gate Theatre, London W11
Opened 22 February, 1991

Why anyone of their own free will should elect to employ the most difficult accent in the British Isles to imitate plausibly Northern Irish is beyond me. Criticism over; the rest is rave. A squad of outsiders (with sort-of-Ulster burrs) cause upheavals in the lives of the (central Irish brogue-laden) inhabitants of a small '20s Bavarian town when they arrive to build a bridge. Town, surrounding hills, river and bridge are evoked in turn by a simple and superbly versatile set, which the squaddies and the local moat-swimming club move over, under and through as required.

The several strains of the plot the girl who wants to go with a soldier and picks the most casually misogynistic of the lot, the one whose flirtatious savvy deserts her and is led into the game, the middleclass lad trying both to be one of the boys and to find lurve are beautifully orchestrated by author Marie-Luise Fleisser and pitched to perfection by the ensemble. Any worries of tokenism surrounding the Gate's Women in World Theatre season are more than dissipated.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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