Journey's End (Duke of York's Theatre)

Last night I went to another theatre show: Journey's End, playing at the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End.  I didn't know anything about the play beforehand, staying true to my related preference of never wanting to know anything about films before I see them.

I bought a ticket to Journey's End because the adverts in the Tube stations looked cool.

It was far more traditional than the first two shows I've seen, because it's more than 80 years old, whereas London Road and War Horse were both written or adapted in the past five years.

Journey's End tells the story of British infantry officers during the First World War. Because the entire story takes place in one location, in a dugout bunker on the front lines, it was possible to make an elaborate and beautiful set. Maybe beautiful is the wrong word. Rustic. Detailed. Meticulous but messy in a wartime sort of way. Plenty of whiskey, candles and cigarettes.

The story was long, nearly three hours with intermission, and following the lengthy intermission I found myself hoping the set would change, that perhaps the final of three acts would take place on the battlefield, and not in the bunker, but the set remained the same.

The only battlefield action you get is overheard from offstage: machine guns and mortar fire.

The characters once or twice referred to Germans as Jerry, which along with Kraut I've heard before, but most of the time they referred to the Germans as the Boche. Apparently it is a French French slang portmanteau that takes two French words, one meaning German, and the other meaning head, or cabbage, and together you've got Boche.

When I looked up a list of words used for Germans (on Wikipedia, which of course speaks nothing but the truth) it listed Boche as historical and offensive, Kraut as offensive, and Jerry as neither.