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Member since:18.04.2005

Reviews:4

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A modern classic

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19.04.2005

Advantages:
One of the most powerful plays of our time

Disadvantages:
Relevance of subject may be lost with non -  Northern Irish readers/viewers

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Would you read it again?

Story

Characters

Readability

How does it compare to similar works?Excellent

How does it compare to works by the same author?Excellent

3 Ciao members have rated this review on average: helpful See ratings
helpful by (71%):
  1. Soho_Black
  2. Simplesimon
  3. kitty17
and 2 other members
somewhat helpful by (29%):
  1. Badger_Boy
  2. Scotsmanmatt

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Coming from Northern Ireland, I found this play perhaps more relevant than one who doesn't understand the history aand the divide may. However, the themes that it deals with are universally relevant, such as war and its effects, sectarianism and ethnic divides, even homosexuality.
The main character of the play is a Protestant Ulsterman called Pyper who we see at the beginning of the play as an old, decrepid man seemingly suffering from shell-shock or post-war insanity, after having survived the Somme, perhaps because of desertion. The story follows eight men in the same battalion at the Battle of the Somme, showing them when they first arrive as eager, Protestant soldiers (except for one, unbeknownst to the others), ready to battle for God and the Union. However, the second act shows them on leave, back home, disillusioned and broken men, dreading the return to the battlefield. This act looks at the relationships between the four pairings, each from different locales in Ulster, their previously held firm and narrow-minded beliefs now in doubt.
The development of the characters and their relationshops is nothing short of genius on McGuinness's part, starting them all out as cock-sure young soldiers ready to take on the German threat, and by the end they are nervous wrecks, all the relationships having taken a drastic turn from the beginning.
The power, intimacy and intensity of this play could almost be too much to bear for people, but it requires a huge amount from the actors to deliver its full effect on stage.

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Comments about this review »

kitty17 19.04.2005 13:05

Never heard of this before, sounds quite interesting. Ellie.

Scotsmanmatt 19.04.2005 10:55

Hi. I'd like to see much more detail in your review? If you edit it please let me know by leaving a message in my guestbook and I'll gladly look to upgrade my rating. Thanks. Scotsmanmatt

trevorbrock 19.04.2005 10:51

Hi - thanks for the review and drawing attention to the play - must have a go at it some time ! - trevor

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Product Information »

Product details

Type Play
Title Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme
Author Frank McGuinness
ISBN 571146112
EAN 9780571146116

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Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme - Frank McGuinness - review by roseolihome

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This review of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme - Frank McGuinness has been rated:

"helpful" by (71%):

  1. Soho_Black
  2. Simplesimon
  3. kitty17

and 2 other members

"somewhat helpful" by (29%):

  1. Badger_Boy
  2. Scotsmanmatt

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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