Leaving Vietnam ★★★★ Park Theatre | Mar 14 - Apr 8, 2023

America may have left Vietnam, but it is arguable if the wound which that war left on the American psyche has ever healed. This monologue of a Vietnam veteran shows how the alienation created by that conflict leads in a direct line to the enormous political problems that bedevil the country today. The sense of manipulation and betrayal by political leaders and the ensuing dislocation caused by economic globalisation are the progenitors of the renewed populism and isolationism that characterise the current political climate. In his monologue, Richard Vergette captures this reality by focussing on the story of one decent, working class veteran who is traumatised by his war experience and bewildered by the world that he inherits. The main strength of the play is the individualisation and personalisation of the American political dilemma in the character of Jimmy, but the work also has an engaging dramatic arc of development that is both heartening and hopeful. Vergette gives a powerful performance that provides a touching insight into the proud, decent man who plays by the rules and keeps his feelings bottled up. If there is a quibble with Vergette's channeling of his character, it might be that he over projects. A more conversational tone might have engaged the audience more. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating insight into the soul of a tortured man and the side of America he represents. It humanises rather than demonises supporters of those ideologies that are becoming ever more widespread around the world. Leaving Vietnam is a moving and thought-provoking piece of theatre.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Jane Hobson.

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

When, Where, Getting there:

Most Popular

St. Martin in-the-fields: Lunchtime Concerts ★★★★ FREE

Knocking on the Wall ★★★★ Finborough Theatre | Oct 31 - Nov 25, 2023

Mates in Chelsea ★★★ Royal Court Theatre | Nov 3 - Dec 16, 2023

Discover Liotard & The Lavergne Family Breakfast ★★★★★ The National Gallery | Until March 3, 2024 (Free Entry)

The Mongol Khan ★★★★ London Coliseum | Nov 17 - Dec 2, 2023

Nutcracker ★★★★ Southbank Centre’s Tuff Nutt Jazz Club | Until January 6, 2024

Sleeping Beauty Takes A Prick ★★★★★ Charing Cross Theatre | Nov 23, 2023 - Jan 13, 2024

The Time Traveller’s Wife: The Musical ★★★ Apollo Theatre | Oct 7, 2023 - Mar 30, 2024

Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen ★★★★★ Bush Theatre | Until December 23, 2023

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Frans Hals ★★★★★ The National Gallery | Until January 21, 2024

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings