An insight into the lives of our nation’s military, 10 Soldiers, came to the Norwich Theatre Royal after its premier at the Birmingham Hippodrome and a run at the Edinburgh Theatre. The contemporary dance show is produced by the Rosie Kay Dance Company and is an exploration into the struggles faced by the Armed Forces.
On Tuesday, dad and I headed to the Norwich Theatre Royal to see the show. I jumped at the opportunity to review the it and as dad served in the Air Force for 32 years he was the perfect person to take along with me. The tickets were gifted by the Theatre Royal for the purpose of review, however my views/thoughts remain unbiased and an honest reflection of my opinion.
On my way to the show I was worried theatricality would overwhelm the authenticity of the performance. However I couldn’t have been more wrong, Kay is a master of balance, purposeful theatrics and a fist full of grit drove the plot. The performance followed a group of ten soldiers through four parts all the way from Civvy Street to Rehab. Simple effects such as projections, lighting, shadows, and lean yet purpose driven props accompanied the dance.
After a brief speech from Kay herself, and a curtain raiser produced by local youths, the show started off with a bang. The first section, ‘From Civvy Street to Soldier’ introduced the cadets to Army life. Physical and mental anguish were evaluated and it set the scene as a human story of heart.
Following a short interval and drinks in the Adnam’s Circle Bar, we returned to the stalls and took our seats for the second portion. Taking place in three parts the second half was visually stunning. ‘Hurry up and Wait’ was consciously playful with music from both Katy Perry and Tammy Wynette. The groups vulnerability was tested and the audience was introduced to an intimate and personal side of the soldiers.
The third part ‘Contact Wait Out’ saw the stage transform into a helicopter and focussed on the warfare side of the military. Masterfully choreographed it genuinely felt as if the cast were parachuting 10 thousand feet to contact.
The most heartbreaking and emotional of the parts ‘Rehab’, the final part, was one was of perseverance and struggle. It presented both the grueling recovery process and the comradery the force is known for.
In her introduction to the show Kay says “I want every person who sees the work to walk out of the theatre, and no matter what their political starting point, to look at soldiers and the world of war in a different way. A visceral, physically understood way. I want to humanise something that is hard to bear, but we must.” which I truly believe she has. The production is pure synergy and a pleasure to watch. I hope this review not only makes you want to see 10 Soldiers but inspires you to take a chance on something new. This was my first time seeing a contemporary dance production and certainly won’t be my last.
At the minute there aren’t any more tour dates however the Rosie Kay Dance Company website will be able to keep you up to date on all the happenings.