The Last Kill

Aug 15 2015 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩   Traumatic honesty

Greenside @ Nicolson Square (venue 209): Fri 7 – Sat 29 Aug 2015

A refreshing look at the human consequences of war is taken by newcomers, Contemporary Theatre of Scotland, who aren’t afraid to tell us what they really think.

The Last Kill is a one hander that explores the nature of post-traumatic stress disorder, following the experiences of soldier, Michael, played by Gary Quinn.

Gary Quinn in The Last Kill. Photo: CTS

Gary Quinn in The Last Kill. Photo: CTS

While Michael deals with his life experiences, he struggles to piece his life together and come to terms with his actions in Afghanistan.

It’s not a particularly new concept – the setting of the base and the characters therein are reminiscent of a scene from the 2005 film, Jarhead. Michael’s experiences mirror the tedium of war, the mental state of the soldiers and the daily grind of life in the desert. But what the show also does is gives an intimate display of a soldier’s mental decline.

As a solo show, everything rests on Quinn – and he certainly delivers. A talented actor, he portrays Michael at all points throughout his life. He also takes on every other persona – from his mum, to his commanding officers, fellow soldiers and a range of people back home.

As a result, Quinn is often in conversation with himself. This process begins a little awkwardly, but it isn’t long before he’s in full swing impressing with his range of characters and accents.

terrified killers

What results is an entirely believable performance that leaves you questioning whether Quinn has experienced armed conflict himself. Especially as he also wrote the script for The Last Kill.

Through the show, Quinn effectively conveys the cloying and claustrophobic nature of PTSD. Examining the processes that turn soldiers into terrified killers, The Last Kill gives insight into not just what people think war is like, but also what is hidden behind the veil of bravado.

Quinn offers touching insight into how terror-stricken soldiers cope with the loss of their buddies, their families in the conflict, when no one else around them understands. The play cleverly displays the the social and cultural politics of modern day conflict.

Julia Oh’s direction further adds to the intensity of the piece, with light and set adding to the sense of anxiety. CTS deliver a harrowing and absorbing piece that while may be uncomfortable for some to watch, is ultimately an honest and engaging insight into the effects of modern day war.

Running time: 1 hour
Greenside @ Nicolson Square (Venue 209), 25 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX
Friday 7 – Saturday 29 August 2015
Daily (not Mon): 9.55pm
Book tickets from the EdFringe website:
Company website:


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