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Falkland Sound - Royal Shakespeare Company

Reviewed by Mark Johnson
Disclaimer - ticket was gifted in return for an honest review


Conflict and community are at the core of Brad Birch’s new play Falkland Sound which explores the life of the ordinary  Islanders turned upside down by Argentinian invasion in 1982 and the subsequent conflict that ensued with the British Army.

Simon Rivers (Edwin), Lauren Patel (Sally), Tom Milligan (John) and Anyebe Godwin (Jacob). Photo by Ellie Kurttz

Interestingly playwright Birch was born six years after the conflict and I too some nine years later. Having that fresh perspective may mean my experience differed from those who lived at the time of the events happening. For me it was fascinating to watch the unfolding events and think of the real people who lived through the war on their doorstep.

Aaron Parsons directs the production which at 2 hours and 50 minutes does feel lengthy, particularly in the first act. Aldo Vàzques’ design uses white model houses which are constantly shifted and moved by the company as the piece unfolds, although it’s never really clear why. The bleak landscape is captured as pieces of felt are turned over to show the more barren land in the hostile conditions. Things turn as the invasion begins and riffles hang dangerously looming towards the stage reminding the audience and characters the danger they face.

Birch’s text is playful to begin with as the characters introduce themselves and narrate about their lives with brilliant lively portrayals varying from an excellent Joanne Howarth as Mrs Hargreaves, a delightful elderly lady, to Lauren Patel’s Sally who has dreams to move to England to study at college and Eduardo Arcelus as Gabriel, the lone Argentine we meet who excels in delivering the transformation in the character as the invasion envelops.

Tom Milligan (John), Joanna Howarth (Mrs Hargreaves), Alvaro Flores (Sebastian), Oliver Hembrough (Geoff) and Avita Jay (Sue). Photo by Ellie Kurttz.

Alvaro Flores carries the role of Argentinian commander Sebastian superbly. As things turn as the British forces begin to arrive you get the sense of loss of confidence as the conscripts are suffering with hunger and dying exposed the extreme temperatures. Although the death toll feels a little brushed over.

The production gets a little lost in scenes in the UK around journalist and the government with Margaret Thatcher (Joanna Howarth), projected on to the backdrop, staunchly delivering speeches. Interactions between characters are more often than not narrated and this loses a bit of the impact of what could have been explored. 

The fascinating production is delivered by a tremendously talented company. For me it’s made me want to learn more about the real events that inspired the piece, many in my generation and younger may feel the same. An interesting and engaging piece.

Falkland Sound plays at The Swan Theatre at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon until Saturday 16th September. Tickets are available from

Lauren Patel (Sally), Joe Usher (Robbie), Simon Rivers (Edwin), Anyebe Godwin (Jacob) and Sarah Moyle (Mary). Photo by Ellie Kurttz

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