By the McNaughton family reviewers
Today’s outing for our Junior Review Team was to see Pineapple Performing Arts production of choreographer Dax O’Callaghan’s “Soldier”.
Billed as a family show exploring the themes of love, sacrifice and redemption, the team decided to include an additional family member in the review team today – giving us an age range from 10 to mid-70s to discuss the performance. In ‘Soldier’ we found a show able to please everyone within the age range, and appealing to both male and female within the group too.
The show opens with a shocking scene which sets the tone for more violence to come – all portrayed through the medium of dance. With compelling music catching the sombre mood of the action, we were soon involved in the story which depicted gang tensions spilling over into all out war between the factions. This is a taster of things to come as the star of the action, Jordache (played by Dax O’Callaghan) reflects on his early life, his family, and finding his girlfriend Shayla (played by Faye Stoeser). The environment in which he grows up is suggested by the use of video backdrop supplementing the otherwise sparse dark set in which the action occurs. Successive injuries to those close to Jordache in the escalating violence urge him to seek an escape from his desperate existence by signing up for a career in the military – hence the Soldier of the title.
The action on stage is closely choreographed, and at times the stage seems slightly small to hold the numbers jostling for position, as there is a troupe of 30 dancers, with some of the big crowd scenes using almost all of them on stage at once. As you’d expect from a show dealing with such extremes of emotion, there is loud music, rhythmic and compelling dance routines, and little light relief as the career of the soldier progresses through tough postings abroad, with the only joy being in his relationship with the girl he leaves at home. Particular mentions must be made of the compelling performance of Dax O’Callaghan, the elegant routines performed by Faye Stoeser, and the depths of emotion shown by many of the cast, including a fine routine by Grace St Hill playing Freya. It’s difficult to single out individual performances in what was a strong performance from all.
This show was performed with a very high standard of dance and movement and the movement portrayed each of the scenes very well so that you could tell the different scenarios.
Our reviewers found the experience of attending this form of dance and physical theatre intensely moving, and would thoroughly recommend that you snap up a ticket soon, as it’s a short run and sure to be a sell-out for the remaining days.