Theatre Review: Terrorism at the Bridewell Theatre

The threat of terrorism has never seemed so real in this dark comedy.

For one week only, Londoners have the opportunity to watch this puzzling, thought-provoking and sometimes hilarious play, written by two Russian brothers, Oleg and Vladimir Presnyakov.

Translated by Sasha Dugdale, it is part of the topical Protest Season currently being presented by The Tower Theatre Company.

British audiences, with no way of knowing how much has been lost, or gained, in translation, will detect traces of absurdism, realism, surrealism and the chaos theory - but the overwhelming impression is of a production that continues to resonate, long after the performance is over.

The astonished audience is immediately emotionally involved as it finds itself transformed into the passengers in an airport, closed because of “suspect luggage”.

Gradually members of the cast emerge and subsequently appear and disappear as we catch glimpses of their everyday lives and discover the connections between them.

Directing such a complex and unusual play is a challenge in which Andy Marchant succeeds superbly.

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It is an ensemble production, with a uniformly high standard of performance by a large and talented cast, portraying a range of emotions both universal and very Russian.

However, the level of hysteria sustained almost throughout is irritating and sometimes so shrill as to be inaudible. They could, with advantage, have contrasted their hyperactive verbosity with quieter portrayals of thought and suffering.

Sound, so important in its use by the state to control the behavior of the populace, is designed by Ruth Sullivan with imagination and wit.

Don’t miss this unusual and fascinating play.

* Terrorism is showing at the Bridewell Theatre until Saturday, September 24.

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