From Here To Eternity ★★★★ Charing Cross Theatre | Oct 29 - Dec 17, 2022

James Jones' dark WWII story is set in Hawaii on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack. This present version draws on both the movie and the book for its inspiration, but the basics of the story remain the same. Two idealistic young men try to behave honourably, one within the military culture and one in partial opposition to it. Both are involved in love affairs that make them question themselves and their place in the bullying, hierarchical environment that is the army. Jonathon Bentley does a fine job as Prewitt who is prepared to fight on the battlefield but not in the boxing ring, and Adam Rhys-Charles puts in a strong performance as Warden, the "soldier's soldier" who comes to question the regimented reality that informs his professional and personal values. Both performers bring a strong characterisation to their parts and their "Ain't Where I Wanna Be Blues" duet is a definite highlight. Also a standout is "Love Me Forever Today" which Bentley sings with Desmonda Cathabel who plays his love interest, Lorene. All of the cast bring their A-game to this production, and we particularly liked Carley Stenson's bitterly determined Karen and Eve Polycarpou's world-weary Mrs Kipfer. Cressida Carre's choreography succinctly caught the mood of the enforced conformity that characterises this piece. There are no happy endings here. It is only the horror of the Japanese attack that unites the disillusioned and downtrodden characters, gives meaning to the dehumanisation of military life, and subsumes personal tragedies into a larger struggle for survival.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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