Thursday, August 11, 2016

'Scorched' by Lisle Turner

11 August 2016

‘Scorched’, written by Lisle Turner, produced by Open Sky and playing at Zoo Southside as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is a play with one actor which deals with themes of ageing, reminiscence and play. We encounter an elderly man watching TV in his living room. As he remembers key incidents from his life he acts them out, using the domestic furniture to represent vehicles and buildings in the same way children often do – emphasising the idea of a ‘second childhood’ in older age. It’s a very impressive physical performance which demonstrates some incredibly inventive stagecraft, including projection, puppetry and animation. I loved the moment when Jack is sitting in his armchair thinking about his time in the army fighting Rommel in the Sahara and remembering having a tattoo on his arm – at which point a projected image appears on his bare upper arm, looking convincingly like a tattoo until it starts to move as an animated cartoon. I also enjoyed the beautiful sculpture created in front of our eyes from sand, sugar and shortbread. But I felt the need for a little more narrative thread to hold the audience’s attention for an hour. And it was a shame that what was clearly a very creative sound design, mixing the soundtrack of the TV programmes Jack is watching with sound effects and voices from his past, was often obscured by the noisy dance show going on in the venue upstairs. Nevertheless ‘Scorched’ is a high quality show which presents an interesting take on ageing and is available, in abridged version, for performance in care homes with associated workshops for residents.

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