Review: There Was A Man. There Was No Man

Part of The Bomb: A Partial History – Second Blast season at the Tricycle Theatre


“Ethics are all very well from the safety of Switzerland”

In some ways Colin Teevan’s There Was A Man. There Was No Man ought to have been the most powerfully resonant piece in the second part of the Tricycle’s The Bomb – a partial history given the heightened tension around the Iranian nuclear programme and the ever-present antagonism with Israel.

The official blurb is as follows. ‘While Israel officially has no nuclear arms programme, few doubt it has; Iran claims this gives it the right to develop its own nuclear programme. Who will be the first to blink? When an Israeli and Iranian scientist meet at a conference in Jordan, their meeting has deep repercussions for their nations, their families and themselves.’

In the course of two meetings, one in Zurich in the aftermath of an assassination of an Iranian scientist and one in Tehran a few days before but immediately after, we get a taste of the intensely bitter and paranoid relationship between Israel and Iran and see just how far each is prepared to go in the face of their suspicions of the other.

But clunky expositionary dialogue and a rather flat set-up meant that it never really engaged me and I have to admit it passed me by without much impact. I suspect I needed perhaps more of a perk-up to start the second half of the day and get me energised – this sadly did not give me this.

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