The Warriors: A Love Story

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (dance, physical theatre & circus): The Warriors: A Love Story at Zoo Southside (Venue 82). Review by Kelly Apter

[A post-war love story between a German dancer and an American solider is performed with flair]

The dichotomous title gives you some indication of the story unveiled here. Love can be found in the most unlikely of places – in this instance between a German dancer and an American former soldier immediately after the Second World War.

Almost 70 years later, their grandson, Eliot Gray Fischer, is here to tell their tale through a potent mix of dance, live music, video footage and interview soundbites.

In 1945, fraternising with the former enemy was a big no-no, so we instantly know that Fischer’s grandparents had a love we can believe in. We learn how he first caught her eye (with an orange – a rare treat in those days), the reaction of their friends, and their new life together in America.

It’s such a personal story, it would be easy for Texas-based dance company ARCOS to fall into a sentimental trap. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, this feels like an everyman (and woman) story.

Film clips of Ursula dancing, or J Glenn Gray talking about the book he wrote after the war focus in on the couple themselves. But the sickening whir of the air raid siren, and illustrated images of people running from an air attack, remind us this was a war that affected millions of lives – and love stories.

In among Fischer’s dialogue, beautiful piano music and multi-media work, lies the choreography of Curtis Uhlemann and Erica Gionfriddo. Through them, the dancers bring the central characters to life in a number of guises. The result is a stage with an awful lot going on, which for those unclear of the central story may cause mild confusion.

Personally, I loved every second of it. ARCOS thinks squarely outside the box, without ever straying into the territory of inaccessibility, and touches beautifully on the capacity for love to overcome hate.

Until 24 August. Today 8:30pm.

Originally published in The Scotsman

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