Review from TheOutmost.com here. Check out TheOutmost.com for more reviews throughout the Festival.
Adapted from the novel by Der Nackte Soldat by Bellman O, this one-man show from Germany follows the journey of Alwin in 1960’s and 70’s Austria, as he discovers his sexuality and is compelled to live a double life, compartmentalising his carnal experiences well away from his daily ones.
A solo show either stands or falls on the quality of the performance, and in the Outhouse’s small theatre there is absolutely no space to hide. Fortunately in Nils Wilkinson’s (main picture) beautifully modulated performance, The Naked Soldier is in safe hands. He manages to convey the conflict and detachment within Alwin brilliantly, in a portrayal that is all the more powerful for its understated grace.
Credit must also go to director Miguel Granja for a finely nuanced production. This sad, sombre piece really is a thing of chilling beauty.
Naked Soldier continues at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival until May 6 at the Outhouse. Performances at 7.30pm with a matinee 4pm on Saturday, book tickets here
FESTIVAL REVIEW: Naked Soldier Outhouse, 7.30pm nightly, Saturday matinee 4pm.
Germany from the 1960s and Alwin’s emerging sexuality is explored with school friends secretly in the attic, mindful of the disapproval of family, neighbours and Church. It’s almost impossible now to understand how gay people connected in those silent days without media or confirmation of status. Nils Wilkinson’s tall, statuesque portrait of that time is dark, sombre and detached. There isn’t much love, just coping with desire and compartmentalising excitement.
In beautifully enunciated English, he accounts for, rather than blames the key influences of his circumstance, no gay angst here – and maybe it needs a little, just to shake the untouchability of the central character. Alwin accepts his task of survival like a dutiful soldier and succeeds on the surface. That is his highest ambition.
Staging is minimal in the tight space, there is a resonant soundtrack and as for nakedness, it’s there but it’s the exposed starkness of character, restricted emotion and self control that remains. There is an elegance in the telling, perhaps the only warmth from those chilling times of exclusion. TG