Review: Do We Do The Right Thing?, New Diorama

“Strangers paid their respects to strangers – why?”

The word timely is often much abused by reviewers, usually in the context of ‘timely revival’, but there really is no better way to describe Neil Walker’s Do We Do The Right Thing?, a highly personal response to the act of remembrance and the way in which society interacts with notions of conflict-based loss and the role of the Armed Forces. I say timely for as Remembrance Day is fast approaching, and in a particularly charged year that marks the centenary of the start of the First World War, the annual declarations about what is or isn’t appropriate poppy etiquette have restarted and the Guardian have indulged in some basic trolling with Jonathan James’ takedown of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London.

The idea that there is a right or a wrong way to commemorate the war dead (or appreciate works of art for that matter) is one of the issues that lies at the heart of Walker’s play. Part investigation of the experience of the townspeople of Royal Wootton Bassett, part exploration of the impact of his own military childhood, Do We Do… is a patchwork quilt of a show – video and projections from past and present, autobiographical scenes played out as drama, verbatim material replicated in the ‘Recorded Delivery’ style pioneered by Alecky Blythe – and in Tommy Lexen’s production for his BeFrank company has a lovely cumulative warmth. Continue reading “Review: Do We Do The Right Thing?, New Diorama”