by Alastair Brett and Sian Evans.
Arcola Theatre 24 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL To 20 April 2013.
Mon-Sat 8pm , Mat Sat 3pm.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7503 1646 .
Review: Francis Grin 28 March.
The more we know, the further we distance ourselves from the truth.
Bertolt Brecht pioneered one of the great movements in political theatre. His plays present little ambiguity about the roles of ‘villain’ and ‘victim’ and are relatively clear on the overall message. Today, information is as abundant as it is questionable, perspectives are numerous and the lines between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ continuously being blurred. This world demands for an approach which explores rather than determines. Documentary theatre fits this mould perfectly.
Gibraltar, co-written by Alastair Brett and Sian Evans, employs the exploratory style as it takes us back to March 1988, examining the shooting of three unarmed IRA terrorists by the Special Air Service in Gibraltar. Using archived accounts of the shooting, the play examines ‘the truth’ behind the event: were the terrorists ‘justly’ killed or were they murdered? The further we examine the evidence, the more difficult it becomes to grasp the facts.
Director James Robert Carson stylizes the piece, keeping us entertained and distanced at the same time. While the evidence is intriguing, Carson stops us falling into an emotional journey, leaving us to process accounts as objectively as possible. Everything from the acting to the overall design is in tune with this objective style. The actors give strong, realistic portraits of their characters, yet are careful to not fall too deep into their roles. An outstanding performance is especially given by Karina Fernandez, who effortlessly slips in between roles, reminding us of her status as a performer.
Cordelia Chisholm carries this minimalist atmosphere throughout her set design as the stage is bare other than some chairs, a table and TV screens which hang on the walls. The screens either depict portions of the documentary evidence or indicate the setting. So, when the scene is set in Málaga, distorted images of the city appear on the screens – just enough to represent the place but never actually place the audience in it.
Overall, this is a coherent production which not only challenges the shootings in 1988 but also effectively portrays a world where information is increasingly abundant and singular truths are slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Nick: George Irving.
Rosa: Karina Fernandez.
Amelia: Greer Dale-Foulkes.
Tommy: Billy McColl.
Director: James Robert Carson.
Designer/Costume: Cordelia Chisholm.
Lighting: Mike Robertson.
Sound/AV: Marco Devetak.