Saturday, 02 July 2022

Serious look at the true nature of war

JOSEPH HELLER’S 1961 novel Catch-22 created a new dictionary word for the problem of circular reasoning, when a dilemma is unsolvable due to its own inherent problems.

The protagonist, US Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier Captain John Yossarian, is trying to “live forever or die in the attempt”.

An army regulation has it that a man would be considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions but in a catch-22, if he makes a formal request to be relieved of these missions, this very act proves he is sane.

The Progress Theatre’s satirical play based on the book looks at the folly of war and the mission requests heaped up on Yossarian until he is pushed too far. The story follows the captain and various other characters who are stationed on the Italian island of Pianosa in a humorous and upbeat yet deadly serious look at the nature of war.

The play is directed by Guy Nichols, with Adrian Tang playing Yossarian. The other actors each take on other parts alongside their main roles. Paul Haigh plays the chaplain, Katie Moreton is Daneeka, Jose Tornadijo is Wintergreen, Juliet England is Major Major, Amelia Sammons is Milo and Michaela Tremlett is Towser.

Catch-22 is at Progress Theatre, Reading, from Monday until Saturday, May 7 at 7.45pm with a Saturday matinée at 2.30pm. For more information, visit

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