The soundtrack that escorts you through Cool Hand Luke is the beautiful, yet haunting voice of its narrator, Mary, played by Sandra Marvin. Her gospel and spiritual songs set the tone of the heart-wrenching tale that is Cool Hand Luke. More than just a ‘cool-rebel-sticking-it-to-The-Man’ story, Cool Hand Luke shows us the horrors of World War II, as seen through the eyes of one soldier. Through a series of flashbacks, we discover the secrets that are haunting Luke, to help us understand why he behaves the way that he does. This is a story of despair – but it’s also one of hope and of camaraderie. In the end, it’s a story of a man taking control of his life in the only way that he can. The much-touted star of the play may be Marc Warren, who does put in a good performance as Luke, but the supporting cast is great, too. And it’s the complete ensemble that makes the play work. Highlights include Lee Boardman as Dragline and Richard Brake as the bullying Lieutenant, as well as the aforementioned Sandra Marvin. Overall, this is a good production, with some interesting elements of stage design, and worth seeing at the lovely Aldwych Theatre. I found it corny in a few places, but as my friend Nicky said: “Sometimes, life is corny.”
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