Manfred Karge's hopeless young heroes may speak in brutal verse (you could envisage them spraying "v" on gravestones, if any were handy), but their re-enactment of Amundsen's quest – embarked upon in order to stave off literally lethal boredom – is the catalyst both for some moderately affecting male-bonding rites and for broader considerations of what it is to be a winner or a loser, an Amundsen or a Shackleton.
Michael Brophy's Slater plays smoothly across the range of responses demanded of him, but his colleagues are less comfortable, veering either towards the mildly operatic or the just plain mild – in one case, a character emerges less likely to be nicknamed Moose than Mousse. The play itself transcends these weaknesses, but it demands and deserves rather more.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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