Boney feels alien to the prosperous melee on the concourse; it intimidates and destabilizes him. Reminders of his past provoke him into riding a tumult of emotions, reliving what he sees as the failures that have shaped his life. A remarkable woman, Lady Georgina Buller, looks beyond Boney’s rudeness, rage and dishevelment to help us catch glimpses of a formidable, well-educated man with a gentle, poetic soul and an unquenchable spirit. Her understanding helps bring a semblance of calm and closure to his traumatic life.
The play also connects with sharpest relevance to recent conflicts throughout the world. It avoids jingoistic boasting and explores how individuals pay the price for military action and epic, historical events. Boney’s armed forces eulogy starts by honouring those he has seen fall in battle, and then broadens under a shower of poppies to include servicemen and women across the centuries to the present-day.