Pros: The effort by four actors to deliver an intricate, fast-paced script for two hours was remarkable.
Cons: The cliché platitudes that ran through the entire play felt like an angry rant. The assertions were not backed up in any coherent manner.
A veteran journalist tries to understand the Libyan regime change by risking his life, only to find that the mainstream media does not want to publish his findings. Bellamy Johan, the hero of Reggie Adams’ new play, is in the middle of an unhappy marriage when by chance, he finds himself in the middle of the political uprisings in Libya in 2011. There, he meets Muammar al-Gaddafi and a World Bank employee who opens his eyes to ideas such as capitalism triumphing over democracy in the West and evil Americans regulating the global money supply in order to remain the dominant world power.
There were many other such ideas running through the play. If much research went into the script, it was not obvious to me – so much was covered that topics could only be dealt with superficially. I found that the play tried to be and do too much at the same time, and it was politically radical without being able to back up or justify any of its ideas.
This is a pity. I went to see An Interview with Gaddafi because I was interested in an alternative story regarding the Libyan regime change. However, the performance’s aim that “we emerge from the play with greater powers of political awareness” seems to me slightly patronising and was not fulfilled. The format of the play meant that half the time I felt as though someone I couldn’t question or get away from, was lecturing me.
That said, the four actors did a great job at delivering the wordy script for two hours at pace, with some help from four further actors on film, who appeared as part of Skype conversations between Bellamy and his teenage daughters, wife, and editor. Jonathan Hansler as the weary and disillusioned journalist, and Taya de la Cruz, who juggles the part of Bellamy’s fiery wife, hotel manager and Gaddafi’s side-kick, make for strong performances in particular. I also enjoyed the secondary plot of the relationship between father and his daughters, who, aside from explaining the Occupy movement to him, hack into airline’s computers to get their father first-class seats in and out of Libya. While these plots were engaging, the political message that dominated the play was not.
Writer: Reggie Adams.
Director: Chris Hallam.
Producer: Future Social Theatre.
Box Office: 020 7928 0060
Booking Link: http://www.waterlooeast.co.uk/an%20interview%20with%20gaddafi%20.html
Booking Until: 29 June 2014.