[THEATRE ~ AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE ~ GBR]
Holden Street Theatres – The Studio, Wed 6 Mar.
A key message of this show is that Osama Bin Laden was originally just a really nice normal guy who cared for his kids and future generations, until he tired of seeing Islamic nations being screwed over by America. Making Bin Laden seem more humane and less of a demonic monster is fair enough – given the stereotypical cardboard image of him we have been served by our media we at least owe him that much.
In what amounts to pretty much a history lesson about Islamic politics since the sixties, we were told that young Muslims worldwide were looking for a third way. They had been betrayed by both Soviet and US geopolitics and that alternative third way was Islam. And therein lies the flaw in this production. The idea of any religion being the basis of a state was rejected by most of the modern world long ago.
Knaïve Theatre’s history lesson on the rise and fall of Bin Laden is entertaining enough. Sam Redway is thoroughly charming and does indeed get you believing that perhaps Bin Laden really was just a decent bloke who cared deeply about the state of his world. But to hook this portrayal of Bin Laden to the vision of the Islam as a legitimate path to freedom just didn’t wash with me and ruptured any attempt to challenge the accepted view and present Bin Laden as a champion of the people.
Had they just stuck to Bin Laden the person and kept Islam out of it – probably a false dichotomy I realise – they’d have a better case to argue and one that just might change people’s thinking. But this was too predictable, and in the end too preachy.
Bin Laden: The One Man Show continues at Holden Street Theatres – The Studio, at various times, until Sun 17 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.