Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: The American Soldier, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kelly Apter.
There are two things you walk away from this strong solo show with – firstly, a deeper empathy for those who face the horrors of war, and secondly a reminder that although the rules of engagement may change, the people on the frontline are all just flesh and blood.
Written and performed by Douglas Taurel, The American Soldier is a singular title with multiple faces. It’s not just one soldier that Taurel plays, but many.
From the American Revolution in the late 18th century through to modern-day Afghanistan, via the Second World War and Vietnam, we learn that human emotions have changed little over the years. They all miss their homes and families, they all feel a mixture of terror and excitement – and nobody knows quite what to do with themselves afterwards.
Taurel is a fine performer, and the words he has crafted feel honest and true (unsurprising, given that they are drawn from real stories and accounts).
Occasionally, it feels as though he is reading lines from a script, rather than fully embodying a character, but for the most part, he’s in the zone. In particular, his hardened Vietnam soldier teaching a rookie how to get through the day is edgy and adrenalin-fuelled.
Zoo Southside (Venue 82) until 22 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 18 August 2015
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