The Troth review at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London – ‘evocative and poignant dance theatre’
In the First World War, 60,000 soldiers of undivided India died serving the British Army. Their sacrifice for the British Empire, at least outside of India, is not widely remembered.
Gary Clark’s The Troth tells this story via a retelling of Usne Kaha Tha – a Hindi short story that tells the tale of soldier Lehna Singh, a man who gave his own life to save the son and husband of the woman he loved.
Clark’s production resembles a silent movie. It places its fusion of contemporary and Kathak dance against a backdrop of archive film footage. As the dancers react to and echo moments from the footage behind them, history becomes more tangible.
Clark’s naturalistic approach to his contemporary choreography sits comfortably with the gestural language of Kathak. Moving from the streets of India to the wartime trenches, the dancer’s actions evoke a sense of camaraderie and physical hardship.
The five male dancers are accompanied by Vidya Patel, finalist of BBC Young Dancer 2015, in the role of Leela – the woman Lenha loves. Patel is a truly engaging and expressive performer.
As the only woman in the story, she is a reminder of those left behind – the suffering that took place away from, as well as on, the battlefield.
Through its simple approach, The Troth offers an emotive, engaging and poignant tribute to a country’s sacrifice.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.