Dancers Luke Bradshaw, Shelley Eva Haden, Oliver Russell, Reece Causton and Duncan Anderson are the titular soldiers, directed and choreographed by Rosie Kay. From the drill, where they move as one finely-honed unit,to the boredom of downtime using tyres as props, the tone then shifts as they go into the combat zone.
There is also a nod to the dark machismo in the soldiers’ psyche. Laddish banter becomes sexually predatory, aggressive behaviour. The men surround the lone female, all leering as though ready to attack. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, and goes on slightly too long.
However, by presenting Haden as a totem of desire, a fantasy figure in her underwear, there is a sense of ‘othering’ the one woman on stage. It’s problematic. A real pity,as she is a wonderfully adaptable and charismatic dancer, either solo or as part of the troupe.
Louis Price’s set and video design adds a richness and density, whether through rolling data on screen or the shifting landscape of the murky battlefields,where one is horrifically injured. Accompanying this is Annie Mahtani’s jarring sound design, sandwiched between unlikely musical bedfellows The Clash and Katy Perry.
The piece doesn’t really sustain its momentum, but there is no denying the sheer visceral physicality, particularly with the tough urban phrasing in the middle section, drawing out disparate personalities and reinforcing humanity at its most vulnerable.
Photos by Maria Falconer
On tour throughout Scotland until May 28th.