Broadway Baby ★★★★★
“Brilliantly acted and superbly written, Bismillah! is one of the best shows I have ever seen at the Fringe or anywhere else. Matthew Greenhough’s side-splitting and touching script shows us an hour in the life of Dean (Greenough), a British Army soldier being held prisoner in an Iraqi basement guarded by ISIS mujahid “Danny” (Nate Birdi). The tone shifts dramatically moment by moment through the banal, the quietly horrifying, and the near-unbearable tension of their fight for dominance, but skilful writing means beat changes never feel clunky or unnatural.
The questioning of both characters’ motives for engaging in the conflict that has led to the play is probed informatively and with great sensitivity through the course of this dazzlingly intelligent script. Greenhough has clearly researched contemporary academic views on terrorism, so much so that the character of Danny should almost come with a citation to the work of political scientist Professor Louise Richardson. That is the intellectual level on which this show is operating.
…a message so obviously rooted in present-day issues… This is a fiercely intelligent, masterfully acted theatrical treat, which prompts tears of both laughter and sympathy.”