Pat Barker’s Regeneration


Though I was raptly absorbed throughout by this superb stage version of Pat Barker’s award-winning First World War novel (cannily adapted by Nicholas Wright and powerfully directed by Simon Godwin) I found myself unable to sit still and kept shifting position in my seat, when not half-jumping out of it (and not just at the horrific and heartbreaking mental regressions to the trenches and ghostly revenants).

And that’s because, even more so than when you read the book (a work of genius, in my view), the material – presented through the physical immediacy of theatre – seems to get through to your neurological (as well as emotional, psychological and intellectual) depths.

The scene is Craiglockhart Hospital, near Edinburgh, between the summer of 1917 and January 1919.  It was to this establishment that the soldiers left traumatised in body and mind by their experiences at the Front were despatched for treatment.


Read the full review in The Independent and written by Paul Taylor here