Festival review: Soldiers’ Wives; Assembly Roxy

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It’s hard to stop yourself shouting “nurse” when confronted by Catherine Shipton. So synonymous is she with the character Duffy in BBC’s Casualty, to see her take on the role of five different soldiers’ wives is testament to her ability as a 
character actor.

The wives she portrays, however, appear a little too obvious, too stereotyped. Covering all social classes – from timid house-mum of the EastEnders persuasion, to stiff-upper-lipped, keeping-up-appearances Penelope Keith-type.

The script resembles a squaddie’s spouse’s tell-all account from some women’s magazine. The issues that affect all soldiers’ wives stand present and correct but there’s very little in terms of actual plot and the ending, which no-one could deny having strong feelings about, seems like a last-ditch attempt to lend some additional emotional weight to the piece.

Rating: * *

• Until August 27

BARRY GORDON