Minefield has been playing alternately at the Royal Court and in Buenos Aries. It is a six hander - but with a difference: the ‘actors’ are all veterans of the Falklands War, half British and half Argentine. It is a scripted play but they all speak in their own voices and in their own language with surtitles above the stage for the Argentines.

They all tell their own tales. One of the Argentines was on the General Belgrano and spent forty hours in a lifeboat. Half the casualties of entire war died in that ship. Another was a conscript who was left on a mountainside for over sixty days surviving under a tarpaulin and a poncho. He and his fellow soldiers were starving and he described swimming a river to house where they thought there would be food only to blunder into a minefield sown by their own side but about which they hadn’t been told. His friend died there. When they were captured they were herded into a barn in Stanley which was full of food. Despite the criminal incompetence and brutality of thier own army they remained uncomplainingly patriotic. 

One of the British was a Gurkha - of whom the Argentines were terrified. The others, now late middle aged men, were all still visibly upset by their experience and recollections. They had all seen things that would never be forgotten. But between all of them and their common patriotism was an obvious bond in their rock band and in their humour.

There was a moving moment at the curtain call. They all came forward to take their bow to great applause. As they did so, I suddenly remembered (though you could never really forget it) that these were the real thing and not actors. I had the strong sense of everyone else in the audience thinking exactly the same thing at exactlythe same moment and we all leapt to our feet to give them a standing ovation. 

I doubt there was a dry eye.


Disraeli and Johnson

Disraeli and Johnson
Disraeli must be the most unlikely prime minister imaginable. A Jew (though his father converted to Anglicanism), a dandy with a reputation ...
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