Directed by Sam Pritchard
Pros: An insightful look into violence and moral ambiguity in the modern world.
Cons: Extremely inaccessible and demanding of its audience. I found the staging and the general style of performance very difficult to engage with.
Our Verdict: This was very difficult to engage with. Brilliant in some ways, but certainly not easy watching.
|Courtesy of Soho Theatre|
On a bare stage, three actors – two women and a man – sit on a stage in front of microphones. They recite their stories, script in hand, into the mics. One woman describes her experience of a plane crash. The man, in a nod to the unknown hero of Tiananmen square, stands in protest in front of tanks, carrying two shopping bags. Another woman talks about the aftermath of a unspecified revolution and how the very leaders of it come to compromise what they have fought for. From time to time, the actors get up and the women interview the man – who is clearly heavily based on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian gunman who attacked innocent people including many children, as a statement against multicultural Europe and tolerance towards Islam.
The themes are fascinating and at times the writing is brilliant but I really question whether this was a piece for the theatre, rather than radio, or at least whether this was the right way to stage it. With its minimalist décor, monotonous delivery, and deliberately undramatic style, I couldn’t help but feel utterly alienated as an audience member.
I found myself having to concentrate extremely hard to not tune out of what was being said. The writing, though at times brilliant, felt often laboured, almost self-parodying. The person who I went with was in fact able to do a pretty good pastiche of it as we were discussing it afterwards, which I never consider to be a good sign.
As I say, I feel guilty for not loving this production. With profound subject matter, serious ethical challenges, and what I suppose one must call “sharp”, “powerful” writing, it should be a five-star review but it made me feel a little like a child who had been dragged to a philosophy lecture.
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