Friday 2nd to Sunday 25th August, times vary
Grounded is without doubt a very worthy production. It deals with many relevant and serious topics such as women’s role in the armed forces, the death of dreams, mental problems caused by being in the armed forces, the dehumanisation of modern war technologies. All great subjects for a play and subjects I’m sure would enthral many of the ticket buying public. Particularly those with attachments to the military. However the macho, over confident, bolshy protagonist was hard for me to personally related to. Not being a fan of the military myself I found her overbearing and a little bit annoying. Not to say the performance wasn’t good because there was no doubt she was an excellent and charismatic lead. She could even cry on cue!
Parallels can be drawn with Kathryn Bigelow’s Hurt locker where the question of what makes a hero was also explored. And maybe it’s due in a small part to my misogyny that I found this character harder to sympathise with. Although I’d like to believe it’s more to do with the nihilistic understatement of Jeremy Renner’s performance which I found easier to relate to than the balls out, thrill seeking cockiness of the lead in Grounded. However, when I look at the plethora of five star reviews and plaudits the play received I can’t help but feel like I was missing something. Especially on hearing much of the audience gushing about the production afterwards. So maybe it’s me who’s wrong. I am, after all, more of a cinema than theatre man and this was definitely theatre. One woman stood talking at you for an hour with a few disco lights occasionally punctuating the diatribe. But then again wasn’t the Banksy play I’d seen earlier just one guy talking and I’d enjoyed that. Although I’ve been a tramp so I know how that feels, but I’ve never been in the army. However, the judgemental among you may also note I have also never been a woman. THREE STARS
Reviewer – Steve Vickers