Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Six young performers take on the role and tale of a refugee that has travelled from Syria to escape the horrors of Mosul. We get the normality of his University education which is then interrupted by the war that sees his city captured, his resistance to that capture before his capture, torture then his escape and travel through the exploitative traffickers to Europe and what should be a better life.
We enter to the six performers reading newspapers and pretty soon the headlines form the backdrop of our introduction to the world of prejudice and fear that is juxtaposed with the latest in trivial celebrity gossip.
From that intensity we move to the quiet story telling of the tale of the past and your daddy and his escape from the bad men as a mother brings us from what is a fairy tale into a reality. That reality is played out for us with our hero, Tariq who walked out on a Daesh speaker at University. Daesh had taken his course away. Tariq has to find a way to resist and does – ABBA Gold as a symbol of resistance is new, and very good – before he ends up, with his friend, captured.
That leads to days of torture and fear before he gives in and gives names. The promised liberty and pardons are unforthcoming as he ends up at the behest of criminals who traffic him to Europe. It ends with a single projected image that says all that needs to be remembered by the end of a very tragic tale of our times.
This is a superior devised piece from a young company that takes verbatim accounts and personal connections and puts them onstage with such craft and verve and is truly impressive. From the clever way of bringing us the headlines to the torture and menace of interrogation, they belie their years and use the theatre to tell an intricate and personal tale with skill.
Performances were nuanced, though the interrogator and the trafficker were a little comic book villainesque, while the rest were delivered by people who understood their responsibilities in bringing such a passionate tale to an audience. Their staging and understanding of how devised theatre can free you from the confines of a pre written scripts gave us comfort that we were in the company of a group that has a secure future in the profession.
The script balanced well, the music matched the moods being created and gave a fantastic backdrop and value to their presence. The use of lighting helped, and the final image projected in silence was just at the right time to balance the hubbub of before with the dawn of the reality thereafter.
Overall, I felt this, from a company who were never going to take this to Edinburgh was an assured, confident and ensemble piece of the highest order. It shows the value of raging at complex issues with a blank piece of paper rather than an agenda but also with a series of strong research values that makes the authentic real.