Re-review: BU21, Trafalgar Studios 2

“Every night on the news there’s literally always some sort of massively catastrophic end-of-the-world shit going down… And I always wonder ‘how would I cope, if that happened to me?’”

I enjoyed Stuart Slade’s BU21 massively when it played the Theatre503 early last year (see my original review and my top ten of 2016) but I hadn’t intended to revisit the show – sometimes the memory of it is plenty sufficient. The feedback from friends who had appreciated the play just as much persuaded me to change my mind though and I’m glad I went back, as there was as much that I’d forgotten as there was that I remembered I loved, making this a definite recommendation from me, even if you’ve been before.

Running time: 100 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 18th February

Review: Trident Moon, Finborough Theatre

“If you’re a Hindu and you live on this side, you’ve got to go to that side.
If you’re a Muslim and you live on that side, you’ve got to go to this side.”

Art and life can intersect in the strangest of ways but I’m sure that no-one could have foreseen the horrific resonances that emerged between transatlantic headlines over the weekend and the world premiere in West London of an Indian-Canadian play set in 1947. Or maybe they could, maybe that’s the point, about the brutality that women experience at the hands of men – whether in word or in deed – a horrific brand of misogyny scarring our world and that sadly shows little signs of abating.

Anusree Roy’s Trident Moon opens with a different dynamic though – it’s 1947 and the Partition of India has been hastily enforced, ripping apart society along religious lines. And in the chaos, a vengeful Alia has decided to seize her chance, taking her former employers prisoners and transporting them with her on the back of her brother-in-law’s truck on its way to West Bengal. But the journey is a hazardous one, and the six women – one of them gravely injured – find their number soon swelling to nine as they trek through dangerous territory, culminating in a harrowing stand-off.  Continue reading “Review: Trident Moon, Finborough Theatre”

Review: BU21, Theatre503

“If you can fucking laugh at it, you can beat it you know
Is that true?”
 
 

How would you cope in a crisis? But no, really, if the sky came caving in on your world, if terrorist atrocities landed on your doorstep (or back garden), could you even begin to conceive of how you might react and respond. That’s what Stuart Slade’s BU21 asks of its six characters as they congregate in group therapy sessions for survivors, all dealing with the aftermath of a jumbo jet being shot down in the skies above West London with an anti-aircraft missile.

One woman lost her mother, the news smashing into her world through a photo on Twitter; another saw a man still strapped into his seat crashing into her garden, still alive even if only for a couple of seconds; yet another has been horrifically burned by jet fuel, and so on. Their stories are told through interlinking monologues, details drawing their experiences inevitably closer but even as Slade gives us a searing account of tragedy close to home, he brilliantly skewers the way in which society, and particularly the media, tries to deal with it. Continue reading “Review: BU21, Theatre503”