The Rich Mix production Help for Heroes, written by Year 7 student Alanny Da Silva Almeida from Skinners Academy, is an intriguing play with many stand-out features, such as sound effects and characterisation.
The play tells the story of war veteran Jon and his dog Rex, and its unique plot emphasises how life is hard for wounded soldiers when they return home. At one point, Jon is so desperate for money that he has to sell the Big Issue to survive. But when his life is looking lower than low, it suddenly picks up when he is selected to carry the Olympic Torch. The journey of the main characters, from bad luck to good fortune, makes for a gripping story.
Added to that, Help for Heroes provides an interesting take on the Olympics, as the story involves a war veteran, who participates in the Olympic torch relay, rather than an athlete.
Another engaging aspect of the play is the use of flashbacks. Rather than taking the shape of a normal, chronological story, Help for Heroes switches between the present and the past, giving information about the characters. One example of this is when the action flashes back to the moment when Jon bought Rex.
The play’s characterisation is one of its strongest elements, with Rex the dog taking a lead role. During the performance the actor playing Rex barked and expressed the dog’s thoughts, which really brought his lines to life.
Adding further realism to the performance, the actors used a variety of sound effects, such as dog biscuits being tipped into a bowl, along with spot effects that included the sound of someone stirring a cup of tea.
In conclusion, Help for Heroes is a successful radio play. Listen to it yourself by clicking on the link below, where you’ll find recordings of all the radio plays performed as part of BBC London’s Drama in the Mix talent showcase.