We’re partnering with fringereview.co.uk to post a series of guest blogs leading up to this year’s festival, giving further insight into the venue and our programme.
Here’s blog five.
Welcome Success for Past Shows and Performers – From Shell Shock to Judas and from 5 Soldiers to 10
With the launch of Army@TheFringe 2019 just a few days away on 2 August we thought we’d look at what happened to some of the shows we hosted in our first two years.
Shell Shock, an adaptation of Neil Blower’s genuine squaddie’s diary, was part of the 2018 programme and marked a return to the stage after 18 years for Tim Marriott.
In the 1990s Tim enjoyed a successful theatre and TV career in sitcom, playing roles such as Deputy Manager Gavin in the Brittas Empire and British airman Tigger Thompson in Allo, Allo, but he left to become a teacher of English and drama in 2000.
The comeback was a success and Shell Shock went on to tour Australia, supporting the Invictus Games.
And now Tim is returning to Edinburgh with two productions – the first is Mengele (which was a sell out hit last year). Mengele imagines the notorious doctor of Auschwitz on the beach where he drowned whilst taking his morning swim in 1979, where he is confronted by the person he thinks has saved him.
It’san expose of a charming manipulator and narcissistic sociopath that links from the past to the present – tackling issues of racism, hatred and bigotry.
Tim also has a brand new work, Judas, a contemporary retelling of the biblical tale it explores the potential for destructiveness in a plot that follows what happens when a radical leader emerges from the desert in a single faith middle-eastern state.
Last year’s Army@TheFringe dance theatre production The Troth, from the Akademi, was highly critically acclaimed (★★★★★ Broadway Baby, ★★★★ Herald) and won Herald Angel and Lustrum awards with its portrayal of the experiences of South Asian soldiers on the Western Front in World War I.
Inspired by the classic Hindi short story, and written in 1915 by Chandradhar Sharma Guleri, the action moved from the intense life and colour of rural India to the horrific darkness of the trenches in Belgium where young Indian men have been brought to fight for the Allied Forces.
It went on to feature in the BBC’s #DancePassion season and was seen online as part of the live streaming day in April.
Other success last year included the Polish queer theatre production Cezary Goes to War (★★★★★ Broadway Baby) which also won a Lustrum Award.
Looking back to 2017, the dance production 5 Soldiers, from the Rosie Kay Dance Company, achieved huge critical acclaim with a string of ★★★★ and ★★★★★ reviews and went on to enjoy major national and international success.
More than that, it subsequently grew in scale and scope.
Rosie Kay expanded the work for the large stage with 10 Soldiers allowing the production to take a fresh look at life in the British Army including issues of equality and diversity.
This year’s programme is every bit as varied, challenging and exciting as those of 2017 and 2018 as we continue to build on a track record of presenting bold, high quality, independently produced performance art.