THEATRE – Judas – Bakehouse – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

Tim Marriott’s new production is a telling follow up to his popular and critically acclaimed Mengele at last year’s Fringe. This one has been developed extensively in England, with inputs from representatives of both the military and theology and this season is its world premiere.

In the wake of a savage exchange of fire caught on that green infra-red vision that so seemed to define our arm chair sense of the first Gulf War, the academic idealist, Youssef (Marriott) finds himself at the hands of two interrogators, one, a man (Marc Clement) the other, a woman (Stefanie Rossi.)

They want information about the boss of the bad guys; Youssef wants his freedom, most immediately from the pain of their torture. Clement plays the stereotypical bad bloke replete with South African accent, while Rossi, deliciously dressed and of no other fixed abode, seems to be his superior.

As the exchanges roll out a cat and mouse game develops; is the information that may be provided accurate; will it be sufficient to gain release?

While virtue signalling is all the craze with much theatre nowadays targeted to please rusted on prejudices Marriott eschews such an approach. This play may be set in the desert somewhere but Marriott is and presents as an Englishman, Rossi is similarly local. Who do they represent? Which side are they on? For the answer one needs to peel back the layers and recognise this is not about Trump’s America or Bin Laden’s freedom fighters but the timeless struggle for peace, a world that recognises uncategorically that nobody wins out of violence.

Timeless? The early hint as to Youssef’s other names and allusions to the crucifixion of Christ at its conclusion make plain that 2000 years on (and from 2000 years before that) we seem little closer to fully understanding that lesson, yet it needs to remain a goal for us all – civilized or not so civilized.

For all that this is well crafted theatre delivered by three talented performers on top of their games; Marriott’s performance is particularly powerful.

Kryztoff Rating      4.5K

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