A Chat With Our Boys’ Coy And Barry

Playwright Jonathan Lewis’ powerful comic drama Our Boys is now playing at the Duchess Theatre. A major success during its original run at the Donmar Warehouse in 1993, it centres on a group of young British soldiers recovering in a hospital ward in the aftermath of the Hyde Park bombing.

It may not sound like a barrel of laughs, but in fact for much of its duration it’s fast-moving and very, very funny.

The play stars Laurence Fox of TV’s Lewis and Dr Who’s Arthur Darvill. It also features Jolyon Coy and Cian (pronounced Key-an) Barry (pictured) in major roles. caught up with Jolyon, Cian, writer Jonathan Lewis and director David Grindley for a quick chat about the play.

Jolyon Coy: “You go in expecting one thing and seeing one thing, but then you go on all these journeys with all these characters and it ends up being something completely different.”

Cian Barry: “I’m playing Ranger Keith Miller from the Royal Irish Rangers. He’s come from Belfast and has been stuck in this military hospital for 13 months. He’s lost the feeling in his leg and they don’t quite know why.”

The play is based on Jonathan Lewis’ personal experiences, and the character of POM is based on Lewis himself.

Jolyon Coy: I’m playing Jonathan – or POM as he’s known in the play. I’m just before going to Sandhurst and I’ve got a cyst at the base of my spine. I get taken to the hospital and put in amongst all the normal soldiers. I’d normally be in a side room and they’re not particularly pleased about it – they take the p*ss out of me quite a lot. But eventually they include me into the fold somewhat.”

Despite its military setting, both the play's writer and director are keen to point out that Our Boys is first and foremost a universal human drama.

Jonathan Lewis: “I tried to write a play that the actor in me would want to play all those parts, and the audience in me would want to watch, and laugh and laugh and laugh.”

David Grindley: “It’s very funny. It continues to be funny right through the first half and ends – if we get it right – in a massive comedy set-piece. Then, once they’re in the palm of our hand, in the second half of the show we twist the knife.”

For more information and to book tickets for Our Boys at the Duchess Theatre, click here.