Theatre Delicatessen, 35 Marylebone High Street
Marylebone is bright and gleaming
on a long, hot evening in May,
and 35 is just another number, glass
and chrome, until inside you find your way
into a stranger city;
darker, down the stairs
into a bunker, beds of sand bags,
lines of benches
and a long mess table,
pictures and playing cards.
Here is the sound of shells
and men shouting, diving for cover,
screaming, gunfire, rain.
Here is laughter and music,
brawling and beer, flowers
and a case of tennis balls.
Here again are old friends and old stories,
old men and young,
young men willing their way
into a war. And here we watch
as though this thing is theatre,
although at times it feels like something else,
something with light and sound
that ring like clarity, unlooked-for thoughts
and moments of sudden sense.
There is a power here in shared experience,
a deeper thing than greed and lust
and loss; here is mankind’s belief
in his incarnate right, so strong
it won’t admit anything else.
Henry V will run at Theatre Delicatessen until 30 June