Nils Bergstrand

The One Legged Man Show



Spotlites, Edinburgh

Nils Bergstrand is the one-legged man in question, and this auto-biographical show charts his attempts to come to terms with losing a limb. He was shot in a bar in Thailand one fateful New Year’s eve (wrong place, wrong time – the bullet was never meant for him), and the subsequent amputation changed his life forever. Here, he uses musical theatre as a kind of catharsis, performing a series of original cabaret songs that take us through the dark times until we emerge to see a present that looks remarkably bright.

Bergstrand has a lovely singing voice, and there are moments here that evoke real tears (the song where he begs his girlfriend not to leave him alone is a standout). His diaries from the past reveal  a tendency towards the poetic, and it’s certainly an affecting tale.

It does all feel a little earnest, a little – dare I say? – American, with the kind of self-help vibe that always makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. And the piano is too loud at times, so that I can’t hear all of the lyrics to some of the songs. But, overall, it’s a story worth hearing, and it’s great to know Nils has the happy ending he deserves.

3 stars

Susan Singfield