Vamos is a theatre company that's never afraid to tackle the most challenging issues - from dementia in Finding Joy to a teenager given no choices when she falls pregnant in The Best Thing.

And with A Brave Face they shine their eloquent but wordless spotlight on post-traumatic stress to tell the story of Ryan, 17 as he joins the army, leaving his mum and sister Katie behind as heads off into a world of adventure and new mates. But the Ryan who is posted to Afghanistan is not the Ryan who comes home, and family and friends are powerless to help, and, increasingly isolated, Ryan has nowhere to turn.

Like the finest short stories, which, in a few short pages, create whole worlds, A Brave Face, in little more than an hour, succeeds in conveying powerfully and movingly the horror and the hidden wounds veterans continue to live with.

As with their previous shows, Vamos, led by artistic director Rachael Savage, prove that less is more when it comes to telling the stories that matter. The only additions to the five talented actors are a soundtrack composed and curated by Janie Armour, which provides the perfect counterpoint to Ryan's story, and a lighting design by Matt Clutterham that subtly but clearly defines every change of set and mood, while one movable locker, two sets of shelves, a games controller and a wheely bin are the only props it takes to set the scene, whether at home or away.

Every Vamos show is a gem - small but perfectly formed, and offering a thoughtful, meticulously researched story that makes no judgement - simply asks us, movingly but with no unnecessary drama, to perhaps think a little harder about where our own responsibilities lie.

A Brave Face is touring until the end of April. For further details, visit