The Arts

Luminato Festival – National Theatre of Scotland – Gregory Burke’s Black Watch

Luminato Festival – National Theatre of Scotland – Gregory Burke’s Black Watch featured image

by Paula Citron.
Black Watch
National Theatre of Scotland
Luminato Festival
Written by Gregory Burke
Directed by John Tiffany
Starring Paul Rattray, Emun Elliott, Henry Pettigrew, Michael Nardone and Jack Fortune
At Varsity Arena until Sunday

The National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Gregory Burke’s Black Watch is what international festivals should be all about. It is a monumental production that would never have come to Toronto without Luminato. Black Watch is in one word – memorable.

The Black Watch Infantry Regiment is one of the most famous in the world with over 300 years of storied history behind it. Iraq, however, has been another kind of war – the first, as one soldier says – where they feel like bullies rather than defenders. Burke’s play – through text, dance, song, visual projections and gallows humour – looks at the memories of one unit, and how these soldiers are also collateral damage.

John Tiffany’s direction is innovative and relentless, and while the Scottish accents do obfuscate some words, the performances are so powerful that it doesn’t matter. We all know that war is hell, but clearly, some wars are worse than others.

Black Watch continues at Varsity Arena until Sunday.

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