Theatre review: Scorched

The story of a World War II veteran whose self-tattooed body reminds him of his past as dementia erodes his memory
The story of a World War II veteran whose self-tattooed body reminds him of his past as dementia erodes his memory
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A drift of sand pours on to a table. An old soldier scoops it into the shape of a castle and breaks pieces of shortbread to form ramparts, turrets and the bridge over a river of freshly-poured sugar.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Zoo Southside (Venue 82)

It’s an image that seems to appear out of nowhere in Lisle Turner’s homage to his grandfather and it’s one that fuses the Middle Eastern desert of the old man’s army service and the trappings of his sedentary retirement. Performed by Robin Berry, his body is slumped in an armchair, his mind is on the battlefield.

The sequence is typical of the quiet invention of Open Sky’s one-man show, a slow collage of wartime memories revealed in a patchwork jumble by a man at the end of his life. The tattoo of a lover comes to life, the outline of a horse gallops across a standard lamp and a paper plane crash-lands in a sand dune straight out of a teacup.

All of this is exquisitely executed, creating a theatricality that’s rare in a solo show, even if there’s a lingering feeling the physical-theatre techniques are leading the story. rather than the other way around.

Until 29 August. Tomorrow 3:30pm

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