Black Watch at the Barbican

Wow. I caught Black Watch – a touring production of a National Theatre of Scotland play – at London’s Barbican Theatre last night. It was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.

Black Watch focuses on the Scottish regiment of that name. It tells the story of some young Scots who’ve recently been in Iraq and, in doing so, explains the history of the regiment, its proud traditions, and the impact on it of the most recent conflict. It also tells a story we’ve seen many times before in film and book – what it means to be a young soldier – but in a way that’s not too heavy-handed. It was mainly dramatic but also had song, dance, video, and structures: a lot was packed into a small space. It was as foul-mouthed as young Scottish men in a warzone are likely to be. It was tense and funny and historical and human.

Black Watch has received enormous critical acclaim in its tour around the world (Australia, the US, Canada, and other places). It’s been hugely anticipated here, and tickets for the entire run sold out really quickly. There was a large line of people hoping for returns last night.

Black Watch at the Barbican