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on 20 March 2013
Journey's End is a brilliant play that helped me to pass my English Literature A level. Alongside Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks this play helps us to delve into life as a soldier in the war, It riveted me from the begining and I was interested in seeing how the characters developed further into the play. Raleigh was a great protagonist and I enjoyed witnessing his experiences during the war alongside the other characters. I recommend this play to other students studying English Literature or/and History as I found it helpful in both topics myself. I also recommend this to people who like brilliant emotional plays and those who are fond of war pieces and stories. This play was very informative.
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on 1 April 2017
Happy with item
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on 26 July 2011
Many of the more luke-warm reviewers of this powerful play clearly haven't been to see a good production. I don't think it's about boredom, rather about how men cope, without going mad, with the impossible horror of having seen thousands of their comrades die hideously in battle often in prolonged agony, of knowing that they themselves are likely to die soon, of hearing constant battle noise or the single cracks of sniper fire when it's quieter. Each of the characters deal with this in a different but equally convincing way. Go and see the superb production now on in London, or any production you can, re-read the play and I think you'll have a different take on what you've read. It is after all designed to be seen and heard, not read.
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on 18 November 2015
Good book
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 October 2016
Set in the trenches of WWI this story follows a small group of officers as they build up to an expected attack by the Germans. We meet Stanhope whose nerves are shot to pieces but somehow he keeps going wiuth a little help from whiskey, Osbourne his second in command, Hibbert who is struggling to leave the dug out and the bright-eyed Rayleigh who has just arrived, fresh out of school.

This is a very gritty and emotional play. I decided to read the play to remind myself of the details before going to a performance. I knew it was a very emotional story but didn't realise that I would feel that straight from the page rather than from seeing it performed. I imagine the performance (this coming weekend) will be even more powerful.

When this play was written it was lauded for showing the true situation in the trenches. So much post war discussion had involved rose tinted spectacles but this did not. It talked of the dirt, the rats, the lack of food and the sheer terror that the men faced every day as they left the dugout for the trenches above.

The characters in this play are very three dimensional and I had no problem imagining the men through their conversation. There are light hearted moments, mainly concerning the food, which showed the real gallows humour which helped to get the men through.

This is a classic play which if performed well is outstanding. I hope that next week's performance shows it off at it's best.
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on 5 January 2014
I have read and re-read this wonderful book several times. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War and doubtless there will be many who will claim that it was not a 'just war' - merely a most terrible waste of young men or rather boys. How we got entailed in such a bloodbath is a complex issue and it was not always a case of 'Lions led by Donkeys'. The casualty rate among young officers such as Sherriff was enormous. For the most part, they were courageous youngsters straight from school who were keen to do their duty for King and Country - and carried out that duty without thought for their own safety - thus showing true leadership. We shall doubtless hear a good deal about the satire, 'Black Adder' also the brilliant stage production of 'Oh What a Lovely War' and those cynics who decry the sacrifice made by so many young men. But when considering the 1914-18 War, surely we should place it in the context of the times and not judge the actions of those in command by today's standards. Now in my Seventies,, my father served in the trenches for some three years - first in the Queen's Westminster Rifles then in the 15th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles. I have his papers and he was discharged in 1918 suffering from 'severe neurasthenia' or put another way, half mad! Might I suggest that if you are able that you visit the sites of some of these most terrible battles. Such a visit should bring home to any sensitive individual just how fortunate he/she is to live in the comparative safety and wellbeing of 2014.
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on 6 December 2007
'Journey's End' opens in the bleak environment of the Western Front as a new arrival James Raleigh comes to join a group of soldiers in the trench system. The 'journey' on which the soldiers embark upon is contains two human attributes, the first being emotional attachment, the second being the power of perceiverance.

Sherriff does not need to go into the graphic details of what happens when the men 'go over the top', however he builds up a number of passionate friendships that both move and endear the reader. The first of these relationships is between Commander Stanhope and Officer Osborne who is 'the only man who could understand me' as described by the company commander at the moment of Osborne's demise. Their relationship is one of two brothers as they look after each other on the Front line - 'what would I ever do without you old chap' exclaims Stanhope, 'I do not know' responds Osborne - inferring the loving relationship the two characters share. At the moment of Osborne's death I was shocked at the anger that welled up inside Stanhope as he responded to the comments from the survivors of the daylight raid on 'the Boche'. He shouts at Hibbert - 'What did you say!...Get out of my sight!' in anger at losing his 'most trusted friend' and the sense of loss is only solidified by the explosion of emotion that feels his dialogue whilst conversing with Raleigh (the soul commanding survivor of the raid).

The audience can fully understand the sense of anger that is perpetuated by Stanhope at the loss of his comrade. The loss moves the reader as the emotional outpouring fills six pages of intense dialogue between the commanding officer and the other soldiers.

The opposite reaction can be found at the climax of the performance. Stanhope must deal with another loss, this time of his school friend and new arrival Raleigh. The young officer's death is one of immense sadness and brutality as the 'young boy's' dignity is ripped from him as 'he cannot walk sir' - though the most sombre moment comes when Raleigh asks 'is there something on my legs, I cannot move them' unbeknown to him that he is in fact paralysed from shrapnel breaking his spine. This horrific brutality is finalised with the death of 'that fine soldier'. This moment is devoid of anger or confusion, but bears down to the horrific truth of war time conflict. Sherriff highlights the horrific truth with the final dialogue between another officer and Stanhope. Stanhope must leave his fallen friend, 'I'm coming now', as he is called to duty. The audience is left feeling immense for the soldier who thought 'it awful nice of you to bother' when Stanhope fetches him a blanket and a candle as his last dying wish.

Sherriff allows two redeeming features to the two horrific deaths of the soldiers lie with the ignorance of Raleigh and the rapid death endured by Osborne whilst 'waiting for Raleigh on the Front line'. However this only adds to the brilliance of the play as a piece of anti war artwork.

Sherriff is fantastic at delivering a dialogue that not only amuses in places and heartens the audience but also plunges them to the depths of dispair at the brutality and senselessness of war. Two young men die in the play, along with six nameless others, however Sherriff only touches the tip of the iceberg with the play, but my does this tip deliver a piercing cut to the audience. It is emotive and passionate in its description of the group of men in the trenches, but accompanying this is a forceful message that highlights the stupid senselessness of the war effort and pays remeberance to the young souls who fell throughou the Great War.
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on 2 July 2000
This is the most moving play I have ever read.This play possesses all the dramatic components it needs in order to make it a success: comedy, tragedy, conflict and a flawed hero. This play is the only play I have ever read that has brought a tear to my eye.
As a result of the play's brilliance I am now starring and co-directing a performance of it at my school!
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on 17 November 2000
This drama about trench life in the first world war is a very moving piece. The characters- Captain Stanhope, who has changed dramatically since he came to the front, Raleigh, the young officer and schoolfriend of Stanhope who hero-worships him, the avuncular teacher Osborne, the comic cook Mason, and the other characters are portrayed sensitively and accurately. The play brings out all the tragedy of war, as you would expect, but is unsentimental and even brings out the humour of the situation at times. In short, well worth reading- especially around November 11th.
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on 1 March 2011
The message of this play, a bold piece of drama for the time in which it was written, is still relevant and powerful today. The plot is very easy to follow, and it is the themes and ideas that draw the reader in, such as the moral dilemma of commanders who know that the war is unjustified and that their own leaders are stupid and incompetent, yet feel duty or honour bound to follow the rules of war. Does any of this sound familiar?
There is also a grim fascination in examining the strategies each man adopts in order to cope with the insane hell in which he finds himself. It is a real drama about real people, and it leaves the audience/readers with uncomfortable questions.
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