Bismallah! An ISIS Tragicomedy, VAULT Festival

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by Maeve Ryan

Bismillah! An ISIS Tragicomedy is a consummate two-hander played out entirely in one location: a cell in Iraq, which houses an ‘infidel’ British soldier held by Islamic State. The twist is that the captor in the story is also English, or, as the character says, ‘born in England’. Tension is sustained by the captor/hostage dynamic and the sense of very real violence.

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A Serious Play about WWII, VAULT Festival

by guest critic Tom Brocklehurst

Sometimes you catch a show on it’s way to greatness, which is one of the joys of seeing shows at an early stage. However, if they’re not advertised as work-in-progress, the audience can leave feeling shortchanged and disappointed.

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Alien Land, VAULT Festival

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by Laura Kressly

Saeed is a Bedouin Palestinian refugee, currently in prison. With no one to speak to, his imagination conjures all sorts of beings and memories. He tells the walls his family history and remembers an old man, a donkey, and and a faceless alien. But this disjointed piece takes too long to come together, and the chosen style confuses and disorientates rather than fully rallies the audience to his side.

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The Claim, Shoreditch Town Hall

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by Laura Kressly

The sickly, yellow lights of a featureless meeting room are making Serge thirsty. He just wants some water, to tell his story and get back home to Streatham. An unnamed woman and man try and fail to listen to him, but they’re more concerned with whether his story is the kind that would enable their Western, colonial notion of helping.

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Goats, Royal Court

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by guest critic Gregory Forrest

You have goat to be kidding me: the Royal Court’s latest experiment is a tonally-confused take on the Syrian conflict, fake news, and livestock management.

The bleating heart of Liwaa Yazji’s narrative is fascinating. For every son martyred in the ongoing war, local government will provide their grieving family with a goat. Children replaced by milk-laden mammals – it is a compensation scheme of twisted proportions. Local party leader Abu al-Tayyib goes as far as to declare ‘Our vision is for every house in the nation to have its own goat.’

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This Beautiful Future, Yard Theatre

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by guest critic Nastazja Somers

France 1944. A young French girl Elodike runs to meet her lover, a German soldier Otto. Their love is innocent and pure, the exact opposite of the world around them. This is a place that has been torn by war, despair and hunger. Yet the young pair of lovers find time and space to make love, talk about their family and friends, and most importantly connect – despite their differences.

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