The Flood (4 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Flood

An unflinching, immersive WWI drama, staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Deep in the bowels of Summerhall, we are in the trenches of the First World War. A nurse chops raw liver while a soldier obsessively counts the lice in his uniform. The tiny space smells harsh and metallic, of old bricks and blood. The audience of ten stands around the walls while the two characters, lovers separated by the conflict, address their duties.

This is theatre in the recognisable Eastern European style, a chance for the strong of stomach to bear witness to the monstrosities of a war that took place before we could watch the action streamed live on our mobiles. The noise, the smell of the liver, the thwack as it hits the pillar, the intensity created by a repetitive script and structure bring the individual horror home to every one of the senses.

No sooner have the lovers begun to plan their lives together – town or country? Two children or four? – than the dreaded whistle blows and it’s time to start fighting and chopping again.

This is a relentless 50 minutes and an unpleasant reminder that there are people in their own trenches to this day. These sounds and smells are their reality.

Summerhall, 560 1581, until 24 Aug (not 11), 8.30pm (& 6.30pm 12–24 Aug), £12 (£10).

The Flood

  • 4 stars

Badac Theatre Company / Escalator East to Edinburgh Set in the bloody battlefields of WW1, The Flood recreates the horror of the conflict with an explicit depiction of the slaughter forced upon millions of soldiers. A parallel love story explores the devastating effects on the women that loved those men. As the insanity…