The War Room

The War Room
An original comedy by Chris Brake

They won’t fight on the beaches, they won’t fight on the landing grounds, they might even surrender.  Britain is at war with her closest ally and the bombs are flying as fast as the barbs in 'The War Room'.

'The War Room' is a grotesque satirical comedy about the politics behind going to war.

Set in the near future, the play takes place entirely inside a nuclear bunker where the Prime-Minister, the Chancellor of Exchequer, and the Field Marshall of the British Army face an unexpected declaration of war and subsequently take decisions that seal the fate of the only Private left in the Army (due to budget cutbacks), and ultimately their own.

CAST

Prime Minister - Christina Betts              
Chancellor - Chris Brake              
Field Marshall - Richard Harding              
Private - Steve Perrin

CREW

Directed by Chris Brake
Set construction - Andy Whiting
Costumes - Barbara Vivash

25 June 2014 CREW

Lighting - Jayne Friend
Sound - Jamie Maisner

18 - 19 July 2014 CREW

Lighting - Helen Bradshaw
Sound - Lizzie Bradshaw

25 February 2014 CREW

Stage Manager - Jayne Friend
Sound - Mick Harris

18 May 2014 CREW

Stage Manager - Jayne Friend
Backstage - Kerrie Thompson
Sound - Mick Harris

23 May 2014 CREW

Stage Manager - Jayne Friend
Sound - Mick Harris

A note from the Writer

"The idea for ‘The War Room’ originally came about whilst performing with sketch group ‘Harbingers’ at the Edinburgh Festival a few years ago. The venue we were in was underground, damp, and dark, and had all the charm of a nuclear bunker. It seemed like the perfect setting for a play about the War Cabinet. After scribbling ideas in notebooks the idea was abandoned for a while, until last year. Steve Perrin had had some success with a play he’d written for the 2013 Duncan Rand One-Act Play Festival at Medway Little Theatre in July, and challenged me to match his own awards haul by writing my own play for the 2014 Festival. Having only written sketch and stand-up comedy before I took up the challenge and by Christmas 2013 the script for my first one-act play was complete.

The timing of it has been worryingly relevant this year (2014). Having written references into it about a Third World War, or a possible ‘Cold War Two’ it became concerning when real life events in Russia and the Ukraine started to pre-empt the satire. But as the fate of real life countries teeters on a knife edge it struck me that this is the perfect time to point a finger at the business of war in the tradition of anarchic anti-establishment comedies that Britain does so well.

The anti-war message is hammered home by a brilliant cast of grotesques. Tina Betts plays the Prime-Minister, a formidable woman in power suit and pearls, concerned only with her re-election. Richard Harding plays the Field Marshall, exasperated by the dwindling numbers of his army and desperate to serve King and Country with dignity. I play the Chancellor, a greasy vision of Ebeneezer Scrooge. And Steve Perrin plays the Private, the last soldier left and the most human of them all who bears the brunt of all the poor decisions made by the Cabinet."

Chris Brake

Poster by Chris Brake

Poster by Chris Brake

25 June 2014
Brook Theatre Chatham

18 July 2014
Medway Little Theatre, Duncan Rand One-Act Play Festival

19 July 2014
Medway Little Theatre, Finals Night

October 2015
Mocktoberfest, Bury St Edmunds

23 February 2015
Southern Counties Festival, Barn Theatre, Oxted

18 May 2015
Welwyn Drama Festival, The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City

23 May 2015
All England Theatre Festival Semi-Final, Barn Theatre, Oxted

 

AWARDS

Duncan Rand One-Act Play Festival 2014

Best Play
Best Original Play 

The Comedy Award - Richard Harding

Southern Counties Drama Festival

Best Overall Play, Best Adult Play
Best Director - Chris Brake
Best Actress - Christina Betts
Best Actor - Richard Harding
and Steve Perrin was mentioned for adjudicator's prize

All England Theatre Festival Eastern Area Final

Christine Britton trophy for Technical Merit

Review of the Southern Counties Festival by Chris Butler

Set in a nuclear bunker, "War Room" is described as a satirical comedy by the Author  who is also the Director and Chancellor of the Exchequer (no mean feat).

Within the first minute I was starting to cringe in my seat as I watched rule after theatrical rule being broken or swept aside.  By the end of the second minute I was gathered up in what I can only describe as one of the funniest productions I have ever  seen. 

The cast of four were disciplined and had been choreographed exuberantly, the pace was phenomenal with every known theatrical convention discarded, heresy indeed but how brave.....!! The ending was reminiscent of Blackadder Goes Forth as all four characters faced their end stoically yet with great poignancy.

 

A short review of the Eastern Area Final by Chris Butler

An original play in which the author played a lead character and also directed the production.

I was fortunate enough to review this play when it appeared in the Southern Counties Drama Festival. It is described as a grotesque satirical comedy about the politics behind going to war, that said, it is a multi layered comedy played entirely inside a nuclear bunker, at a pace which almost leaves the audience breathless. The gags are non stop, the action is continuous, the visual humour is there throughout. A very clever and very funny play, which leaves you wanting more (or less of politicians)!!  A worthy winner of the Christine Britton Technical Merit Trophy

Click here to listen to Steve Perrin interviewed on Monday Matters with Jason McCrossan, 16 June 2014. 

Interview starts at 2:01:50 and ends at 2:47:00