Victims of Freedom

Set in an imagined European city of the future, a nuclear family's idyllic existence is shattered when Dad's past returns to haunt him. Before you know it, a bunch of terrorists are hiding out at home. Queue the arrival of torturing mercenaries, followed by government troops, and their small suburban life appears to be stuffed to the gunnels with every flavour of paramilitary organisation. It's amazing they found the room.

Shed Theatre are an amateur group, so don't expect any Tony-nominee performances here; but I did think there was occassional flashes of better-than-average promise, and the opening lament with violin accompaniment was particularly powerful.

But there are problems. Big ones. The first is the decision of the theatre company to let the actors exchange roles through their short run. It means no one person ever gets to nail their performance, and you can see budding talent here that is just struggling to remember their lines. There was literally space to trundle an armoured vehicle through some of the gaps in the dialogue. Certain characterisations seem weakly drawn, and I think that has to be expected if the actor playing to role only gets one shot at it whilst trying to remember five other parts.

The other major issue is that the story is fundamentally flawed. The self-confessed terrorists appear to be far more sympathetic than either the mercenaries or government troops - but no justification is offered for this. The family claim to have no involvement with the terrorist group, but within a couple of minutes of their arrival they're offering cups of tea and playing scrabble whilst the Kalashnikovs dangle around their necks. When the mercenaries storm the house, there's no explanation of their motive - why don't they simply take the group to custody? My understanding of mercenaries is they get in, get the job done, and get paid. Torture isn't part of their remit, so this story is suggesting that's just a hobby.

The final twist - which I'll try and avoid revealing - although dramatic, involves some preparation on the part of the mother and father which kind of invalidates everything they had claimed in the previous 45 minutes.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

Good Grief

★★★★
The Phoenix Arts Club Facebook Live Page

Live From The Phoenix Flat

★★★★★
Crescent - The Vaults

Over My Dad's Body

★★★★
Greenwich Theatre

Sleeping Beauty

★★★★★
Christmas in Leicester Square

La Clique

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

C Venue 34. 20-26 Aug. 17:15 (45m)

Most Popular See More

Constellations

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets