Three cheers for Owen Sheers whose powerful anti-war polemic Pink Mist revives a style of poetic drama that went out of fashion in the middle of the last century.

But while the verse plays of T.S. Eliot and Christopher Fry come instantly to the mind of us oldies, there is little beyond the rhyme – occasionally plodding – to invite a comparison.

The choreographed movements of the six-strong cast, the vivid lighting and back-projected images, and the pounding disco rhythms of the music suggest a world thoroughly up-to-the-minute.

Against a background of those urgent dance tunes, echoing the staccato stuttering of guns, the trio of Bristol-based youngsters central to the action make their fatal decision to enlist in Her Majesty’s forces.

“The three of us did what boys always have and left our homes for war,” says Arthur, their principal spokesman and prime mover in the plan.

As in the days of the press gangs, booze taken and the lure of lucre play their part in persuading them to military service in Afghanistan.

But can we blame them?

Arthur, excellently depicted by Dan Krikler, wants out from his tedious job driving thousands of miles going nowhere offloading imported cars in Portbury Docks.

Taff (Peter Edwards), on pitiful pay as an apprentice plumber, hopes for a better life for wife Lisa – they were together at 16 – and their child.

Hads (Alex Stedman) is the youngest of the three and labouring in retail. “What’s next after Next?” asks Arthur in his successful effort to win him to the cause..

Horrible things happen beneath the blazing Afghan sun, as may be guessed from the play’s opening moments when a wheelchair in silhouette features – the only other stage ornament besides a bench and screen – in the spare design (Emma Cains).

They happen, in fact, to all three characters, a circumstance which rather stretches credibility, suggesting close to a 100 per cent casualty rate.

One wonders, too, about the unlikely eloquence of all three men, that of the garrulous Arthur in particular, it being stated that he is far from the brightest star in the firmament of Bristol’s youth.

Nor – to continue a litany of minor complaints – is there entirely satisfactory integration into the action of the three female characters, the aforementioned Lisa (Rebecca Killick), Arthur’s girlfriend Gwen (Rebecca Hamilton) and Hads’s mum Sarah (Zara Ramm).

But this is always compelling drama, expertly directed by John Retallack and George Mann.