Warrior

There is nothing visibly unusual about teenager Evan, who kicks off his opening monologue with the line, “My problem is this. Ignorance. Complete blind ignorance.” Yet immediately, Euan Brockie’s pained delivery tells us this is not just another surly teenager. His portrayal of inner conflict is an illustration of the complex issues being presented in Jen Adam’s powerful work. This is Adam’s second play written for Black Dingo Productions. The first, Kiss Cuddle Torture – about domestic violence – was a subtle exploration. Warrior, on the theme on sectarianism, lays the issue and the characters affected by it firmly at the audience’s feet.

Warrior doesn’t give answers, but sends an audience away with the knowledge that one simple act, or word, or phrase can cause devastation.

We discover through a series of monologues that Evan has been arrested for online sectarian abuse and faces prison. But, as we hear from his mother and father we quickly appreciate that there is far more behind the story. Marilyn Wilson’s quiet portrayal of the mother brings out the woman’s vulnerability perfectly. Adam Tomkin’s proud and confident father is no less damaged, if not visibly. The contrast between these two players is ingenious and the way their overlapping dialogue cuts across each other with sharp accuracy keeps the drama at knifepoint focus.

The audience sits in single lines along each side of the small chapel of St. John’s Church. The actors tell their story directly with expert delivery, making the experience highly personal – and unnerving. Amy Gilmartin’s clean direction makes good use of the venue, moving the players between sections as if they were characters in the computer games that Evan obsesses over – hence the title of the play. There is a brief reference to ‘keyboard warriors’, but the full impact of this throwaway mention punches in later as the piece gathers pace.

Tomkins and Wilson also play a school-teacher and a former boss, respectively, giving us another perspective on Evan’s situation and background. Both actors do this with natural ease, creating further dramatic tension by exposing elements of humour within the dark script.

As the play progresses, Evan’s anger increases. Railing against the bullying he has and will suffer, his strong words echo beyond the playing space, resounding around the entire church. And so they should.

Early in the play, he tells us, with wisdom beyond his years, that you can be born black or gay, but you can’t be born a Catholic. Whether shrouded in the colours of a football strip, soaked up through learned behaviour, or swathed in ignorance over its religious roots, sectarianism is a simmering sore in Scotland’s cultural identity. But it is those keyboard warriors who lurk between the actor’s lines who are the most dangerous and insidious factor in the play. The judgement of other children, their parents, colleagues, teachers, and worst of all, journalists who dredge up the dirt on this beleaguered family stirs up sectarianism through sensationalism and mendacity.

As Evan’s father points out, what the press tells us isn’t what one set of people know to be true. Warrior doesn’t give answers, but sends an audience away with the knowledge that one simple act, or word, or phrase can cause devastation. Hopefully, there will be another chance for more people to see this important play after the Fringe frenzy ends. 

Reviews by J. A. Sutherland

Underbelly, Cowgate

The Tarzan Monologues

★★★
Arthur Conan Doyle Centre

The More the Merrier - Free

★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

Inevitable

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Seven Missed Meals Leads to Anarchy

★★★
St Cuthbert's Church

King David's Wives

★★★
Greenside @ Nicolson Square

SingleMarriedGirl

★★★

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

Performances

Location

The Blurb

16 year old Evan lives in a different world. A world where he can ignore unwanted attention and shut off from the harsh reality of high school. But when his world is threatened, he reacts hastily, with drastic consequences. Detailing the time between his arrest for leaving anti-Catholic comments online and the day of his trial, Warrior explores the aftermath of blind - not bigoted - ignorance to sectarianism in Scotland.

Most Popular See More

Frozen the Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets