The Rose of Jericho
Rich and provocative one-man show from Alex Martinez at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
In Alex Martinez's new play, an ex-soldier battles with the ghosts of his past actions and explains how he began to understand the forces that shaped him. While the monologue homes in on the extremes of the character's life – the tours of duty, an act of domestic violence – it moves towards an uncertain conclusion that captures the anxiety of the modern male.
Kevin Hely's performance is instantly engaging: from the opening salvo of self-abnegation to his final plea for escape, his soldier is a man trying to do better. Recollections of his father's macho insensitivity and the son's complicity are challenged by a new consciousness, inspired by his wife and a gradual realisation that he is fighting for the wrong side. Martinez has written a part ready for a tour de force, and Hely rages and soothes in equal measure.
The conversion of the soldier to a more subversive attitude is a slow process, and all the more powerful for it. Whether this conversion is simply into another mode of battle, or a clear moral imperative, is not explored and the conclusion opens up questions about how his new direction might retain the old methods. Despite having a single perspective – although Hely presents other characters, it is only the soldier's relationship to them that matters – The Rose of Jericho is a reflective, provocative solo.
The Space@North Bridge, run ended.