Open Sky present Scorched

“There’s some pain you can’t grit your teeth through”, is something said by the sole performer in Scorched as he reflects on his time during WWII. Certainly, this is a line that you are frequently reminded of as you continue to watch the show. You are placed alongside a man who is telling stories from his past, and struggle with him as he weaves between his fully lucid memories of his time in the war and with his family. You stay with him as he returns to his present, in which he is suffering with dementia.

A moving and emotive piece, told with tasteful expertise, leaving you mourning for a life and memory lost in time.​

The performer, Robin Berry, has clearly mastered his characterisation, seamlessly shifting between his character’s various incarnations. From a young man in love, to a person immersed in confusion and uncertainty. His physical embodiment and changes in these phases of his character’s life creates for a very moving and honest performance.

The staging of this show is what really makes it distinctive. Its innovative and imaginative use of lighting and projection are expertly used, but the production does not heavily rely upon it either. One effective moment is when Berry gently pours sand from a tray whilst a drawing of a woman is projected onto it. This is a really stunning representation of the character’s fragility and ever decreasing memory, captured for a brief moment as time slips away. In fact, the use of sand throughout the whole production is a very beautiful motif. If we see sand as a way to measure time, it is something that has been with Berry’s character his whole life. From his time in the Sahara during World War II, where he is constantly surrounded by it, getting lost amongst endless dunes and the never-changing landscape, to his old age in which his memory tricks him, still trapped in his past as the sand gently slips through his fingers. The sheer amount of work that has been put in by the production company to create such a moving piece of work is outstanding, and a very intelligent and artistic way of expressing this story.

The writer, Lisle Turner, has said that the inspiration for the piece came from his grandfather; he was a man who would not talk about his time in the war until dementia struck and his family were suddenly confronted with his traumatising experiences. The theme of this piece is something that should not be forgotten: a generation of people went through such terrible and extreme distress and were then left alone to pick up the pieces. The production tastefully explores this, as we watch a man work his way through a maze of memories, flip-flopping between his happier times with his family and then his experience of war. We see what that did to him emotionally and where it has left him in the present. A moving and emotive piece, told with tasteful expertise, leaving you mourning for a life and memory lost in time.

Reviews by Annie North

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Open Sky present Scorched

★★★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

1941. Egypt. WWII. An escaped German officer. A two day chase across the brutal Sahara. A triumphant capture. A hero’s return. 1991. England. Jack reigns from the armchair of his rest home, a local legend. Decorated veteran of Tobruk. Former river warden, boxer, horse whisperer, boat builder, charmer, prolific father and husband to a very unhappy wife. Memories are, by his own hand, tattooed on his body, but dementia is eroding his mind. As the Gulf War rages, the past drags him back to the scorched sands. Open Sky uses new writing and visual physical theatre. Touch tour available before the performance on Thursday 11th May. Please email [email protected] to book.

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