The poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon have a close relationship to Edinburgh. During the First World War they were sent to the military hospital at Craiglockhart to recover from the trauma of war. The building is now a campus of Edinburgh Napier University, but there is a tribute to the meeting of the poet’s with a gallery present in the building. The friendship of the pair and their relationship to war is the focus of the performance Not About Heroes. Edinburgh seems like a fitting location for the show as it gives the audience the opportunity to witness the story in the very city that the pair met.
Siegfried Sassoon was already a published and respected poet before he met the aspiring writer Wilfred Owen. The younger poet was still finding his way with the written word when Sassoon was transferred to Craiglockhart to receive treatment for his mental and physical health. Owen seeks advice from the more experienced writer and when Sassoon recognises the potential of Owen the men strike up a friendship. They bond over words and poetry and disagree over golf. Whilst the pair find mutual ground the threat of returning to the front line is always on the horizon and this causes much grief and anguish.
Flying Bridge Theatre are a Welsh based company and they have brought the story of Not About Heroes to life. The play is written by Stephen MacDonald and it is his script that conveys the drama of the show. The performance itself feels on the long side and takes a while to get going. The strength in the drama is the friendship, but this offers very little in conflict. Never the less Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon are compelling characters and their story is a proud and important one.