Esther Wilson, ' Ten Tiny Toes', The Everyman, Liverpool

IssueJuly - August 2008
Review by Roger Stephenson

Ten Tiny Toes looks at the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the families who have sons and daughters serving there.

Like every mother, Gill wants the best for her sons. Raise them well, keep them safe, clean and out of trouble. But for Michael and Chris the choices are few and far between. The only way to have the best and be the best is to join the army.

The play opens with a montage of news footage on a screen that forms the whole of the backdrop to the stage. Tony Blair tells us that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction ready for imminent use. A chilling reminder of the lies that took this country to war.

Michael has just returned from his first tour of duty in Iraq. The mother’s love for her son is evident, but family tensions arise from Michael’s different attitude to life from his experiences as a soldier.

As the war unfolds, Gill comes into contact with other mothers who have sons in Iraq or Afghanistan and she becomes involved with campaigning for Military Families Against the War which leads to further tensions in her family.

There is one serious flaw – “Maya Johnson”, a member of MFAW, who periodically walks round the stage reading the names of the dead and ringing a bell. Instead of giving full weight to the horror of what has happened, she looks rather silly.

This is a very powerful play that looks at issues the government chooses to ignore and asks questions the peace movement should also look at seriously.

The programme (a small book) includes the script. (£3.50)

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