The revival of Tim Rice's musical, adapted from the classic novel by James Jones, and subsequent award-winning film, From Here To Eternity is marching its way onto the stage at Charing Cross Theatre, with the iteration dubbed to tell the stories of 'the boys of '41' upon the fortnight leading up to the Japanese Pearl Harbour attack.
Conflict amongst the men arises when a newly transferred arrival- Prewitt, played by Jonathon Bentley- refuses to face the boxing ring, to be an important part of upping the ranks for those at the top. A risky love interest named Lorene (Desmonda Cathabel) is on the scene, and difficult decisions must be made, both within army life, and outside. Alan Turkington takes on the role of Captain Dana Holmes, and Carley Stenson as his struggling wife, Karen.
For the space given, the cast was relatively large, and navigated the area with reams of military choreography by Cressida Carré that was impressive and eye-catching considering this. Unfortunately, the build up to the infamous event is ineffective at points though, with a lack of momentum- particularly during the first act- overriding the successful elements. While the plot potential appears vast, it seems a shame to note its limitations, but the relationships between characters, and details of events don't present enough progression for the narrative (which is somewhat odd, considering the running time has been cut down to 2 hours 30 now).
However, there are several tracks that hold the piece together, and reconfirm that all is not lost with Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson on board. Blending genres at times, though clearly taking inspiration from the roots of musical theatre, the show opens strongly with 'G Company Blues' as boxes are manoeuvred, and men keeping up their regimented routine. 'Fight the Fight', 'Love Me Forever Today' and 'The Boys of '41' are a few more that are well-composed, and performed with a mastery of vocals all round.
By the ending, intentions are perhaps unclear, and it is difficult to tell whether the piece reflects well in taste, particularly given its showing around Remembrance. The majority of the interesting action is saved for the last moments, and may not be worth the wait, considering the character development doesn't yearn for much attachment to them, and some attributes are blurred due to their similarities.
Overall, this reimagining has a couple of pluses: fight scenes occasionally pack a punch and as the testosterone-fuelled army boys show what they're made of. The score has some successful inclusions too, but it is the general movement of the piece leaves it faltering.