Soldier at The Edinburgh Fringe!
What an amazing time we had at the Edinburgh Fringe. Soldier was a great success, with fabulous audiences and brilliant reviews. Check out what Broadway Baby had to say about it.
When Johnny Comes Dancing Home
Writer and choreographer O’Callaghan also stars as Jordache, an impoverished youth who dreams of escaping the trap of gang culture to become a soldier. On the way he meets the love of his life, Shayla, charmingly portrayed by Faye Stoeser, and the two of them suffer loss, hardship, heartache and the pain of separation, all of which is communicated with pure physicality (only one actual word is spoken during the show). When this physicality kicked in proper, there were gasps of admiration from the audience. Make no mistake: these kids can dance. They throw themselves into every sequence with the dazzling commitment of the young and passionate. Their timing is faultless, the movements are spot on and the arrangements are breathtaking.
However, the show is not perfect. Clocking in at a bum-numbing hour and twenty-eight minutes of solid dance, Soldier could be a challenge for a lot of Fringe punters, and the story had its share of fat that could stand to be trimmed. There are two “going to war” scenes that hit the same emotional beats and play out in practically the same fashion, while Grace St. Hill’s character, Freya, is given a “jealous lover” subplot that ultimately goes nowhere, culminating in a dance sequence that is as flawlessly executed as it is narratively pointless.
Honestly though, if you’re going into Soldier expecting to be swept up in a complicated narrative you have the wrong attitude. It’s a dance show through and through, and when the dancing’s this good there’s nothing wrong with that. If you have any interest in seeing a group of preposterously talented young movers giving everything they’ve got, you’ll want to hurry and catch Soldier before it disappears.