I was unsure what to expect from a dance company performing at Army @ The Fringe. However, the quality of the production and Rosie Kay’s choreography would be fitting for any grand theatre, and 5 Soldiers is very much at its spiritual home in the Army Reserve Centre.
The story follows the routines of war from the perspective of five soldiers, male and female, of different ranks. The different pieces explore all aspects of this life, from the physicality and repetition of drill patterns, comradery in the ranks, tensions between officers to the overwhelming trust that they all must place in each other in order to survive.
The five dancers become their characters and express their personalities with vigour, while their costumes are their uniforms and the minimal set works to their advantage. The performance is at times precise and military, and then heartfelt and ethereal at others. There are highs and lows, beauty and ugliness, laughter and sorrow. The performers manage to convey the traumatic mental strain of war, the unwavering commitment to the cause and shows us the colourful personalities that make up a camouflaged army.
It’s easy to think of war as an act that happens between countries or governments which involves technology, intelligence, missiles and drones. This is an important piece that serves as a reminder that no matter how we talk of war, the front line is still made up of ordinary people with hopes and dreams, just like the rest of us.
A heartfelt production that raises questions without taking a moral stance, 5 Soldiers is well worth making a trip to see.
Note: After each performance the audience is invited to a Q & A session with the cast, choreographer and representatives of the army to discuss the creation of 5 Soldiers and to what it hopes to achieve.
Words: Zoe Atherfold
5 Soldiers, Army @ The Fringe, Aug 11-26 (not 14, 15, 21, 22), 8.30pm