In this centenary year of the outbreak of WW1, there are plenty of Great- War related offerings on offer in Edinburgh… but O my god, this is a piece of abstract theater that left my senses literally numbed into submission as I left the cellars of the Summerhall & stepped blinking my astonishment into the evening sun.
The stage is a cellar of the Summerhall, & the audience are gathered around a table or leaning against the brickwork, with the two lovers – a soldier & a nurse – either talking to each other when the soldier is on leave, or communicating through letter-like monologues.
The story is based upon a real life tale, in which the great aunt of Badac theater’s Steve Lambert lost her lover to the war, & never went with another man for the rest of her nine decades on earth.
What left me stunned, however, were the scenes in which the soldier recreated his assaulting the trenches, shouting & ducking to the machine-gun effect provided by the nurse chopping the table with a knife.
Another marvel is the script, where short & snappy staccato lines are repeated hypnotically over & over again as we follow the characters slightly manic, war-obsessed & love-begotten trains of thought. I shall leave you with an example – with the nurse attending to her wounded lover;
So much pain. So much agony. My hands. Covered. Covered with blood. His blood. Watching the pain. I love you. I tell him. I lov you. I’ll fix you. Still. each stitch. Screaming. Each cut. Screaming. The insanity. The insanity. In my head. With each scream. The insanity.
A worthy FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Damo Bullen