The psychology of the returning soldier is a subject that's been much pored over in recent years. With their production of Outside on the Street, exciting young company Invertigo examine it through a surreal, existential lens.
The translation of Wolfgang Borchert's 1945 play The Man Outside, Outside on the Street is as relevant now as it was then. Sergeant Beckmann returns home, besieged by the ghosts of war. When he finds his wife has taken a lover he tries to kill himself by jumping in the Elbe, but the river throws him back and he begins a strange journey back to life.
This versatile and impressive all-male ensemble evoke the grotesque characters Beckmann encounters with ease. Paapa Essiedu brings just the right amount of befuddled frustration to the role of Beckmann as he tries to reintegrate himself into civilian life. The dreamlike confusion of the narrative mirrors what one can only imagine is the experience of returning soldiers, with what passes for normality being permanently called in to question.
For all that it is sometimes hard to stay with this cyclorama of experiences and Outside on the Street is sometimes a little inaccessible. But the excellent ensemble and Owen Horsley's sharp direction mean that you are never completely left behind.