Scorched at ZOO Southside
Jack, an elderly war veteran, sits alone in his care home listening to news reports on the Gulf War. This is the very sight audiences are greeted with as Scorched begins, a one-man show by writer Lisle Turner and inspired by her grandfather.
During the hour-long production we follow Jack through a continuous monologue as he reminisces on his life, in particular his experiences during World War Two. Actor Robin Berry is riveting, effortlessly transitioning between the frailty of Jack in the present and the energetic nature of his past self. Berry remains consistent throughout, never wavering in his performance and displaying an intensity that grips audiences to his story.
The intimacy of the venue works strongly in the show’s favour, as the dark enclosed space allows viewers to feel ever closer to the events occurring before them. Open Sky Theatre Company’s flair with technical elements is evident here, as projections are built into the story – a homemade tattoo flickering on Jack’s arm, a horse galloping across a lampshade – adding real beauty to the performance and showing that any space can be made to feel larger with the right additions to the narrative.
Scorched is less about a linear plot and more about scattered memories; with a focus on the impact the character’s past has had on his present, as his dementia-stricken mind struggles to make sense of today. The reminder of his war days are ever-enduring, not least because of the gun that is forever close to his side.
Berry’s stage presence is captivating from beginning to end, as audiences are encouraged to take Jack to their hearts as they enter into increasingly personal aspects of his history. Scorched doesn’t have a particularly grand message to leave its viewers with, but it’s the kind of play that will stick in the mind long after the performance ends.
Scorched is at ZOO Southside from 4th August until 29th August 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Scorched here: