Martin Harper, Elaine Hudson & Philippe Klaus

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A stage play has finally been produced which honestly depicts the plight of Australian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and their torturous on-going battle with war-induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, long after returning home.

Ron is a young former army medic who has been sent to a soldier recovery unit back home. He claims his ‘mind is like a washing machine’ and is seeing an army therapist. His mother desperately wants him to leave the army, writing letters of complaint – but at what cost?

This play explores many issues which inadvertently go unnoticed in society. The mental trauma these soldiers suffer, the harsh treatment they receive from their superiors who claim they must ‘man up in a man’s world’, the effect on family and the insecurity they face once leaving the army.

Philippe Klaus (Wolf Creek 2) leads an ensemble cast of five in the pivotal role of Ron and delivers what is irrefutably the most extraordinarily compelling and heart-wrenching performance ever seen in independent theatre.

He realistically portrays a shattered man whose inability to resist aggressive urges triggered by memories of the horrors of war lead to an incredibly loud explosion of emotions throughout.

Elaine Hudson plays the role of the mother who never wanted her son to join the army and together they are credibly cast as mother and son.

The story is nonlinear, as the audience traverse backwards and forwards into the medic’s past and witness his harrowing experiences on the battlefields, sessions with the army therapist and his memories as a child.

This is gripping, highly emotional and thought-provoking theatre at its best, which gives a confrontational insight into the operation of the military machine.

The media call these courageous men ‘heroes’, but audiences will ponder long after leaving the theatre – are they more aptly ‘forgotten heroes’? (MMo)

Until Sept 1. The Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Rd, Marrickville. $22-$32+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.thedepottheatre.com