facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen. #IMissTheatre

The Soldiers’ Fortune

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 22 April 2008

Two soldiers return from war with no money and no way of making a living outside the armed forces. Adjusting to society rather than war proves a problem. It sounds like a plotline taken straight from an anti-Vietnam movie. In fact, Otway's The Soldiers' Fortune was written three centuries beforehand. David Lan, Artistic Director of the Young Vic, chose now, another time when the plight of troops is at the top of the news, to revive the Restoration comedy. Matthew Amer attended the first night.

The answer, of course, to the problem of finding money if you are a well-sculpted former soldier, is to find a good woman who will pay for you… which is what Beaugard and Courtine attempt to do.

On Beaugard's part, his pay-ticket is a former love, Lady Dunce, who is now married to the cruel old fool Sir Davy Dunce. For Courtine, he finds love in the form of Sylvia, a woman with a wit and tongue as fast as his. To aid in such love-making fun you need a go between, or a pimp. Sir Jolly Jumble fits the bill.

It is Sir Jolly, really, who is the star of the show. A lewd, rude, voyeuristic, lisping camp luvvy of a character, as played with a hint of Larry Grayson by David Bamber – who on occasion makes you feel a touch dirty with his groping, watching ways and his repetition of the word 'boobies' – he is the puppet master, bringing everything together for those around him.

Our heroes – Ray Fearon's Beaugard and Alec Newman's Courtine – both struggle to control their tempers; possibly it is the readjustment to civilised life, possibly they are just angry young men wound up by love. Their two relationships are very different.

Courtine and Sylvia banter in a Much Ado About Nothing style, whereby we all know that they are in love with each other, even if they don't. Lady Dunce is the only person to know exactly what is going on in the love triangle between her, Beaugard and her husband – Oliver Ford Davies, in full nasally-twanging, chest-rumbling, ambitious, jealous, over-bearing patriarch mode – as she tries different ways to pass messages to her lover via her spouse.

Ben Turner's Fourbin, Beaugard's French servant with an accent just the right side of Monty Python, is an ominous, threatening presence in a generally light-hearted play, and as such, falls foul of being underused.

David Lan, in his first directorial role at the refurbished Young Vic, lends music and dance to the show with an onstage five-piece band adding some mood music, as well as joining in with ensemble parts, and several scenes ending with a song or a jig to keep the mood light.

MA

Share

Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.