A collection of Journey’s End review quotes.....

Journey’s End opened in Malvern in February 2011 and then toured the country.

In July the show transferred to the Duke of York’s theatre in the West End.


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“There’s a gem of a performance by Dominic Mafham as the former schoolteacher ‘Uncle’ Lieutenant Osborne, the one consistently steady and comforting presence. I have rarely seen such an entirely decent human being so truthfully observed and played. Even if hero worship isn’t appropriate, the young men couldn’t have a finer role model.”

The scene in which the schoolteacher (Dominic Mafham) and the new recruit (Graham Butler) heroically exchange small talk before a raiding party in which both know they are likely to die is as moving as anything on the London stage.“  

“Mafham's performance is a masterclass in understatement - the only sign of how utterly terrified he is? The shaking of his hands just before he is sent over the top.”

“The most outstanding performance, however, comes from Dominic Mafham as ‘level-headed’ Lieutenant Osborne. Mafham is excellent as the kind-hearted schoolmaster whose mere presence reassures the other officers, but whose own fear is concealed until he trembles violently trying to light his pipe before leading a raid on the German trenches.

It’s churlish to have a star turn in such a galaxy of fine performances from every cast member but Dominic Mafham marked my card as Osborne”

It is former schoolmaster Osborne, the company ‘Uncle’, who provides the maturity and stability to sustain morale and take Raleigh under his wing. Mafham is superb in this role: he gives a classic British war film performance redolent of Kenneth More, Jack Hawkins, and John Mills.”    

This is a brilliant production with one of the finest casts the Grand has seen for some time. As the unflappable ex-schoolmaster Osborne, Dominic Mafham is outstanding. Constantly calm and re-assuring we only see his fear when his hands shake as he tries to light a match for his final smoke.

This cast is first-rate throughout and Dominic Mafham outstanding as the kind level-headed Osborne, a former schoolmaster fondly called Uncle who, tellingly, reads Alice In Wonderland – in which nothing makes sense – during the countdown to the fatal raid.”

Dominic Mafham, excels as Osborne, whose steadying, comforting presence is felt all too keenly when it is no longer there.

“But it is Dominic Mafham’s avuncular Osborne whose presence is a steadying influence on the men around him and indeed on the audience..... the chat with Raleigh before their mission is just beautiful as they reminisce about English country walks, a much-needed moment of calm making his silent breakdown as he struggled to light a pipe just moments before, one of the single most heart-breaking moments I’ve seen in quite some time.”

The cast is uniformly excellent, with a fantastically underplayed performance from Dominic Mafham as Lieutenant ‘Uncle’ Osborne. An everyman figure, we see the rest of the characters through his eyes - certainly at the start of the play - and he sets the tone of compassion and decency that runs throughout the tale.”

At turns brilliantly comical and intensely sad just watching Osborne (a cleverly understated Dominic Mafham) prepare for the suicidal raid on enemy lines is profoundly touching.”

Dominic Mafham has great presence as the fatherly figure of Lieutenant Osborne”

An outstanding performance is Dominic Mafham’s as Osborne, the kindly ex-schoolmaster whose seeming unflappability says much for the solid social certainties which sustained the war effort. Only at one silent moment, as he struggles to light his pipe with trembling hands at the prospect of leading a suicidal raid on the German trenches, do we get a glimpse of what lies behind the composed exterior.”

The scene where Osborne and Raleigh count down the final minutes to the raid by talking about country walks ranks with the most poignant in British theatre.“

“I especially enjoyed Dominic Mafham’s touching performance as the gentle, loyal Osborne known as “Uncle”..”

“In contrast to Stanhope's drunken mania stood Dominic Mafham's Osborne. Second in command, ex schoolmaster, elder statesman and wise counsellor to the group he provided the calm centre to the storm. There was quiet nobility and dignity to the character, as terrified of the situation as everyone else but capable of soothing anxieties with his reassuring presence. While he remained on stage there was still a feeling of hope for these men yet there was an inevitability about his fate as in any Greek tragedy.”

“Dominic Mafham, my personal favourite, warmed hearts as the sacrificial lamb, Lieutenant ‘Uncle’ Osborne.”

Dominic Mafham, as Lieutenant Osborne, is the anchor of the band of men and indeed the cast; his performance and likeability really bring home the human cost of the war.”

Nowhere is this better seen than in the character of Lieut Osborne (Dominic Mafham). He is known to all as ‘Uncle’, a name fully revealing of the TLC he lavishes on the company as it prepares to face a bloody German advance on the Western Front in March 1918. A schoolmaster by profession, he is ideally placed to bring comfort to colleagues so lately out of school.”

My heart went out to former school teacher Lieutenant Osborne beautifully portrayed by Old Vic stalwart Dominic Mafham, who poignantly took off his wedding ring and left it with his comrades with his treasured copy of Alice in Wonderland, which he quoted shortly before he met his end in a blaze of canon fire. He knew he would never walk down the leafy lanes of Lyndhurst which he was longing to return to, alongside his lovely wife and children, more than playing “Rugger” again for England. He was the strong shoulder for Stanhope to cry on and the perfect foil for the misguided enthusiasm of 18-year-old 2nd Lieutenant Raleigh”

All the quotes are taken from the full reviews which are available here