My Boy Jack is an incredibly moving play that gives insight into the family life of Rudyard Kipling. Many believe the poem My Boy Jack follows the death of his son, John.
Tim Randell as Rudyard Kipling had the wonderful iconic moustache and looked so much like the great man that it completely drew you in. His characterisation of Rudyard was exactly as you would imagine him, very English but with undertones of anger and frustration over the state of affairs concerning the war.
Guy Jones plays his first major lead role as John/Jack Kipling. Hopefully his first of many as he has true command of the stage and confidently takes you through all John’s emotions, from being anxious about joining the army, to commanding his men at the front and then facing the fear of going over the top.
His sister Elsie/Bird, played by Florence Pearce-Higginson is the only person to know the truth about John before he goes to war. She plays a strong female character who isn’t afraid to stand up to her family. The relationship between brother and sister is charming and relatable, as they keep each other out of trouble when they sneak a tipple of their Father’s whiskey.
Away from the family home the tone changes. John progresses from complaining about still calling his Father, ‘Dad-o’ to being mixed in with swearing soldiers talking about their rotting feet. This stark contrast is incredibly powerful and the booms and flashes of bombs and gunfire gave a sense of what these men faced.
The Tavonians delivered an incredible performance of a truly moving play, made even more so by remembering the story is based on true events.