Southwark Playhouse, London – until 17 November 2018
Guest reviewer: Pearl Esfahani
Les Enfant Terribles’ The Trench follows the story of Bert, an older man wanting to serve his country during WWI, and is assigned the task of digging for explosives under No Man’s Land. Fans of guitar-led singer-songwriters will enjoy Alexander Wolfe’s original soundtrack, and songs interjected throughout. Entirely in verse, it’s not until our protagonist finds his voice that the story really comes into its own.
Co-director Oliver Lansley marries vocal and physical with muscularity. Of course, the visual storytelling is where the company excels. From simple sequences concisely showing the development of friendship to the many uses of a plank of wood, and projections. Using these tools to change the audience’s perspective of what we’re seeing is particularly satisfying.
A slick ensemble takes us into a magical world beneath the trenches as we meet various puppet creatures not of this world, alongside Bert’s quest to find his way to the light. It’s quite a feat to tie in so many different techniques in one show, and it isn’t always perfectly cohesive, nevertheless, it is ultimately a tale of the cycles of life and death with some stunning moments worth waiting for.