The Straits, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

By Mark Fisher
Thursday 12 September 2013 06:07

First, congratulations to Gregory Burke for turning in a play quite different in style and subject to his Fringe hit, Gagarin Way ­ translated into 17 languages since its debut in 2001. Here in his second play, he has drawn on his experience as a teenager on Gibraltar to take a look at military machismo among a gang of boys at the time of the Falklands War.

Like his first play, it has a tough edge and a taste of politics, but this time he holds back on the laughs to allow a more concentrated study of the violence and vulnerability of the male psyche. In this it has much in common with the blokeish dramas of the 1990s by the likes of Patrick Marber. His analysis is that beneath every man's drive to fight, hate and do battle lies a terror of emotional exposure.

It's not new territory and that's the play's limitation. But Burke writes with confidence and energy ­ and his interesting take on the roots of Thatcherite patriotism is well brought out in John Tiffany's superbly paced production with its set that doubles as a flag of St George and its furious blasts of The Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen".

Venue X, various times (1hr 30mins) to 23 Aug, not 11 and 18 (0131-228 1404)

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