A play written by R.C. Sherriff and first performed in 1928, it tells the story of a group of middle-ranked members of the British army. The overall premise is "War is both unpleasant and un
necessary." However, it is shot through with a vein of dark humour, particularly from Mason and Trotter, making it ring much truer than many of its doom-and-gloom imitators.
The main characters are:
- Capt. Dennis Stanhope, the Shell-Shocked Senior (a rather tragic example, he's in his early 20s). He drinks heavily to deal with the war but won't take any time off because of a sense of duty and a fear that everyone he knows at home, including his fiancée, will find out what he's become.
- Lt. Osborne, Stanhope's fatherly second in command
- Second Lt. Jimmy Raleigh, Stanhope's old schoolfriend and future brother-in-law
- Second Lt. Trotter, the token working-class officer
- Second Lt. Hibbert, an officer who's as traumatised as Stanhope. He hopes to get home by faking illness.
- Pvt. Mason, the officers' unnamed Deadpan Snarker chef
This play includes these tropes: