Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: SHELL SHOCK: ADELAIDE FRINGE 2018 at Bakehouse Theatre

Review: SHELL SHOCK: ADELAIDE FRINGE 2018 at Bakehouse Theatre Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Tuesday 28th February 2018.

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away";
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.
Rudyard Kipling, Tommy.

The name, Tommy Atkins, came to represent the archetypal British soldier. When Neil Watkin wrote his book, Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins, under the nom de plume, Neil Blower, he made his central character an everyman, representing all soldiers who had suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Shell Shock, as it was once known. The Tommy in this play, adapted from the novel, is based on his own experiences as an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran.

It was adapted for the stage and directed by Tim Marriott who then, suddenly, found himself stepping into the role, script in hand and after a long hiatus from acting, when the original actor left at short notice. It is Marriot, who is still performing the role, who has brought this wonderful work for the Adelaide Fringe presented here by Guy Masterson - CIT, and Smokescreen Productions, in the intimate confines of the Bakehouse Theatre. This brings the audience close to Tommy as he explains that the doctor suggested that he keep a diary of his thoughts, feelings, and progress, and the story he tells is drawn from that diary.

At first, things have a fair degree of humour when he leaves the army and returns home to his parent's house, and gets back together with his girlfriend. Then he begins to have trouble sleeping, and the nightmares worsen. He gets a job, but loses it, his anger increases, and so it goes on.

Marriott is superb as Tommy, the role coming to life in a genuine performance that leaves us in no doubt, whatsoever, that this project is of immense importance to him; an act of love and a tribute to anybody who has ever been in combat. His sympathetic interpretation of Tommy, in turn, evokes our sympathy, as we come to understand the long lasting after effects of what many members of the military have been through.

Marriott gives a moving and insightful performance leaving the audience with the impression that they have come to understand Tommy, and we are able to relate to his difficulties in readjusting to civilian life through this marvellous characterisation. Be sure to see this production before it closes.

This is one of the four parts of Guy Masterson's#LestWeForget series. Anthem for a Doomed Youth is still running, and Mengele is also currently being performed, with Between the Crosses coming soon. Make plans to catch them all.

Andy Warhol and Photography Public Programs Announced in Adelaide Photo
Andy Warhol's close friend and collaborator, Christopher Makos, will travel from New York City to join Andy Warhol and Photography: A Social Media curator Julie Robinson in conversation as part of the exhibition's opening weekend program.

Damian Callinan Leads A Cinematic, Romantic Romp At Adelaide Fringe With DOUBLE FEATURE Photo
In a brand-new show, three-time Barry Award nominee Damian Callinan mines a surprise discovery of his mother's 1946 diary, creating a cinematic, romantic romp through Post WW2 Australia. However, her diary poses more questions than it does answers.

I AM ROOT Ukrainian Canadian Theatre Show Comes to Adelaide Fringe 2023 Photo
Having won the weekly John Chataway Award for Innovative Work at Adelaide Fringe 2022 and fresh off a successful season with Sydney's Flying Nun by BrandX, 'i am root' – a deep and playful ritual performance piece that explores life, death, Ukrainian culture and Vegemite returns to the Adelaide Fringe.

STRANGE CHAOS Comes to Adelaide Fringe This Month Photo
Premiering at Adelaide Fringe this February is “Strange Chaos”, a new show from the experimental theatre ensemble Oozing Future. After sell-out performances of “AutoCannibal” at Darwin Festival, the company will present a completely new site-specific work made for the Arthur Artbar car park.

From This Author - Barry Lenny

Review: THE JEN LUSH BAND at Wizard Tone Studios, HendonReview: THE JEN LUSH BAND at Wizard Tone Studios, Hendon
February 5, 2023

The performance was brilliantly executed, thoroughly engaging, and utterly beautiful.

Review: A PROMENADE OF SHORTS 2 at Holden Street TheatresReview: A PROMENADE OF SHORTS 2 at Holden Street Theatres
January 13, 2023

Red Phoenix has found a winning formula with their Festival of Shorts.

Review: RING IN THE NEW - ADELAIDE CANTATA BAND at Pilgrim Uniting ChurchReview: RING IN THE NEW - ADELAIDE CANTATA BAND at Pilgrim Uniting Church
January 7, 2023

The calibre of the musicians was undoubted.

Review: THE MOUSETRAP at Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide Festival CentreReview: THE MOUSETRAP at Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
January 4, 2023

Robyn Nevin has assembled a great cast and neatly captured the style of the era.

Review: HAIRSPRAY at Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival CentreReview: HAIRSPRAY at Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
January 1, 2023

This is a highly entertaining evening of theatre