I went to the Finborough Theatre expecting to see a comedy about a group of diva’s trying to put up with the struggles of Afghanistan, as the tag line ‘These charity gigs are always in bloody awful countries. I wish someone would fight a war in Marbella. I wish there were starving people in bloody Hawaii’ suggests. But I was treated to so much more. Playwright Sarah Page, a former member of the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writer’s Group, presents her second play with this funny, relevant and thrilling script. It is hardly surprising that it was a finalist in the Curve Leicester Playwriting Competition.

The Sweethearts is a play about the people we choose to make our heroes and how they are perceived by society. A manufactured girl band who is in need of some positive publicity travel to Camp Bastian to perform a one-off performance for the troops which is being filmed for a documentary. The trio consisting of lead singer Coco (Sophie Stevens) and her bandmates Mari and Helena (Doireann May White & Maria Yarjah) are one of the ideas of heroes discussed in the play. The band is rarely off the front cover of the tabloids and the Captain’s (Stevie Raine) daughter’s wall is plastered with posters of them, but the audience question whether they have been through the struggles which would be deserving of hero status. The celebrity lifestyle of constant photo shoots, battles with the paparazzi and globetrotting is expressed as meaningless by Coco, and the trio are struggling with having their every move broadcast across social media and print.

This concept of idolisation is compared to the individuals of the military. Portrayed by Jack Bannon, Joe Claflin , Jack Derges and Laura Hanna, the characters which include privates and Lance corporals have to deal with trauma and loss. The way in which these moments are delivered by the talented actors make it seem as though they have come to terms with these hardships for the sake of the military, but even the most respected and strong members of the army can have their moments of sorrow and inability to cope. At these moments of increasing intensity where the battle between the two ideas of hero get darker, the fact that there is no weak links in the cast is made more apparent. Each character has their own tragic story, and is brought brilliant to life by these brilliant actors. They are definitely ones to watch. All set in an office converted into sleeping quarters for the pop group, the set perfectly portrays the claustrophobia of war especially when all eight members of the cast are on stage.

This entertaining play may have a feel of The Inbetweeners in the first ten minutes, but as the play progresses, it takes a well-paced turn to the serious side and provides an insightful look into war, all whilst retaining its comedic value.

The Sweethearts is playing at the Finborough Theatre until 17 October. For more information and tickets, see Finborough Theatre website.