The Echo Chamber

Current affairs can be baffling, and we have all been overcome with the need to turn off the news and pretend that horrific acts of terrorism around the world aren’t happening. In this piece of theatre, however, Trimaran Productions succeed in outlining the issue of radicalization to a much younger audience, and making current affairs accessible to all.

The actors handle this intense subject matter, for the most part, capable and surely

This is a play about creating a play, set in a drama class which, through a variety of characters, the use of multimedia and clowning, depicts online extremism in modern society. This is refreshing, as the actors discuss the scenes which they will be performing among themselves before portraying the characters to us. They also make an effort to show extremism which spans over many different countries and religions. We are shown a young English girl fleeing to Syria to become a Jihadi bride, then forced to fight. Following this, we are told through clowning the story of Anders Behring Breivik, who is the Norwegian far-right terrorist who committed the 2011 Norway attacks, a Christian example of terrorism.

The actors handle this intense subject matter, for the most part, capable and surely. As they quote both the Bible and the Qur’an, and decide how best to convey the themes to us, we can follow their thought processes and understand the decisions which they have made. Despite this, some of the action falls slightly flat, with movements and physical theatre seeming somewhat amateur. There are also moments when costume changes aren’t fluid, and it’s easy to tell when actors are struggling to recall their lines. This undermines the play as a whole, even though it packs a punch thematically.

Overall, the actors can be applauded for creating a piece of theatre which covers a variety of themes and tackles such heavy subject matter. It also portrays the more lighthearted side of things through the trial and error of their ‘rehearsal’ period, as they prepare this play in front of us. This is a comedic, clever and current production which I would recommend seeing if you have any interest in understanding international affairs and the wider world.

Reviews by Angela O'Callaghan

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Exploring the issue of radicalisation and the powerful allure of online extremism. Why do some British teenagers leave for Syria to become Jihadi brides and fight? Why are others being drawn to the far right? What role does religion, politics and cultural identity play in this? A grown-up play, currently on a high profile national tour of secondary schools. ‘Engaging, challenging, entertaining. A very powerful production. See it!’ (James Howarth, Principal, Hathaway Academy). ‘Tackles the difficult questions head on. A really valuable resource’ (Sophie Young, Department for Education). ‘A fascinating play, very well performed’ (Oxfam Education).